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Region 4 News Release: 09-845-ATL (211)
July 20, 2009
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA proposes $136,000 against water and sewer contractor for safety violations at Cobb County, Ga., trench site

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed seven citations with penalties totaling $136,000 against Tritt Contracting Inc. for violating federal workplace safety standards.

The penalties follow an inspection of a construction site on Cedar Drive in Powder Springs, Ga., where OSHA found company employees working in dangerous conditions inside a 23-foot-deep trench.

OSHA alleges two willful violations with penalties totaling $100,000 for allowing employees to work in a trench without a safe means of escape and without an adequate worker protective system to prevent cave-ins. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The agency also has proposed a repeat violation with a $20,000 penalty for the company's failure to adequately train employees to recognize and avoid hazardous conditions, and for inadequately training employees to direct traffic around the worksite. The company was cited for violating the same standard in 2007.

Four serious violations with penalties totaling $16,000 have been issued for the company's failure to place warning signage to oncoming motorists of work being conducted in the roadway, not providing the employee directing traffic with proper traffic control equipment, allowing equipment to be placed within two feet of the trench and using a protective system inside the trench that was not designed by a professional engineer.

"OSHA will not allow employers to endanger their workers' lies by cutting corners on safety just to speed up work and minimize any inconvenience to residents and motorists," said Andre Richards, area director of OSHA's Atlanta-West office.

The company, based in Jasper, Ga., has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; telephone 770-984-8700.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


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