Region 4 News Release: 09-70-ATL (035)
Feb. 3, 2009
Contact: Michael Wald
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA proposes $108,000 in penalties against Marietta, Ga., construction company for trench safety violations
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $108,000 in penalties against Tippins Contracting Co. for seven safety violations that exposed its employees to possible injury or death at two construction sites.
Inspections in Austell and Acworth, Ga., result in willful and serious citations
Inspections conducted in August and October 2008 revealed that the Marietta, Ga., company violated OSHA standards by failing to provide employees with protection from cave-ins while they worked in trenches. As a result, OSHA is proposing two willful citations with $88,000 in penalties. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Five proposed serious violations carry penalties totaling $20,000. Inspectors found that damaged ladders were used at both sites. Additionally, at one site, material excavated from a trench was placed too close to the edge of the excavation, a portable ladder of insufficient height was used in one trench, and employees did not receive adequate training in the proper and safe use of ladders.
"Trenching and excavating can be done without risking employees' lives but only if employers take the necessary precautions," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Too often, employers focus on finishing a job quickly instead of finishing a job safely."
The company 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.
OSHA has improved workplace safety and health over the past 38 years. This success is reflected in the latest data (2007) showing the lowest national injury and illness incidence rate that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has ever recorded.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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