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Region 4 News Release: 11-423-ATL (133)
March 31, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino      Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076      404-562-2078
E-mail: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov      wald.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Alabama contractor
$115,000 for trenching and other violations

VANCE, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued three safety citations to Trax Development LLC of Northport for exposing workers to cave-in and struck-by hazards while installing sewer lines at 10077 Brose Drive in Vance. Proposed penalties total $115,000.

Two willful citations, with a proposed penalty of $112,000, were issued for failing to provide employees a safe means of entering and exiting a trench that measured 11 feet deep by 200 feet long, and for failing to provide workers with cave-in protection. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Trax Development also received one serious citation with $3,000 in proposed penalties for exposing employees to struck-by hazards from loose rocks and equipment while not wearing head protection. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"A trench can become a grave in seconds. Disregarding workers' safety by leaving them unprotected from potential cave-in and struck-by hazards is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "It is the employer's responsibility to ensure the safety and health of its workers."

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/construction.html.

Trax Development has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office located at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, AL 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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