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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-00-65-5-24
Wed., May 24, 2000
Contact: Diana Petterson
PHONE: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222
OSHA PROPOSES $82,500 IN PENALTIES AGAINST TWO CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS AT A RICHLAND HILLS, TEXAS, CONSTRUCTION SITE
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two contractors for 10 safety violations at the Water & Sanitary Sewer Replacement Project construction site in Richland Hills, Texas, and has proposed penalties totaling $82,500, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.
The alleged violations were discovered during three unscheduled inspections when work was being performed inside three separate excavation sites with no protection from cave-ins. Each inspection resulted in an investigation. OSHA's standards require that cave-in protection be provided for employees working in a trench or excavation over 5 feet in depth.
Henderson Construction, LLP, the general excavation contractor for the site, was cited with two willful and four serious violations totaling $63,000 in proposed penalties. H & I Equipment, Inc., a pipe boring subcontractor, was cited with one serious and four repeat safety violations totaling $19,500 in proposed penalties.
A willful violation is one in which the employer knew it was in violation of safety standards but chose to continue operating in an unsafe manner. 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. A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited, during the past three years, for substantially similar infractions of the law.
"OSHA has developed a national emphasis program to address unsafe construction work sites, particularly those with obvious excavation hazards and violations," said Dean Wingo, OSHA Fort Worth area director. "The metroplex has seen an increase of workers killed in trench cave-in accidents."
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA's toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
Each contractor has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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