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Region 5 News Release: V-422
July 2, 2001
Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999
OSHA PROPOSES $416,000 IN PENALTIES AGAINST CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
CHICAGO -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited a Sterling Heights, Mich., construction company for alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards and proposed penalties totaling $416,000.
Ric-Man Construction Inc., an excavation contractor specializing in pipeline and tunneling work, was cited for 16 violations, six of which are categorized as willful. Employees were performing tunneling and deep excavation work installing concrete pipes for a water main project in Toledo, Ohio.
The citations are the result of an OSHA investigation which began February 1, 2001 in response to a complaint alleging that employees were working in trenches over twenty feet deep without cave-in protection.
"Unfortunately, the owner knowingly and repeatedly exposed workers to potentially fatal trenching hazards," said Acting OSHA Administrator R. Davis Layne. "At the time of initial inspection employees were working inside a 22-foot deep trench with no protection, and similarly hazardous working conditions were documented over the course of this investigation, often within plain view of foremen."
OSHA cited the company for six alleged willful violations, with proposed penalties of $378,000, including four for failure to protect employees from trench cave-ins. Ten serious citations, with penalties totaling $38,000, were issued for various violations of standards including not providing safe access/egress from trenches, improper use of trench boxes, and neglecting to properly train employees in trenching hazards.
A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Ric-Man Construction, Inc. has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The text of this news release is available on the OSHA website at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
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