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Region 2 News Release: 11-1338-NEW (osha 11-105)
Sept. 13, 2011
Contact: Leni Fortson      Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5102      215-861-5101
Email: uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov      hawkins.joanna@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA fines Roselle, NJ, contractor
more than $158,000 for trenching and other hazards

ROSELLE, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Roselle-based A-Absolute Construction Inc. for three willful, one repeat and six serious violations at the company's Parsippany work site, including exposing workers to trenching and other hazards. Proposed penalties total $158,400.

"In 2008, an unprotected trench at an A-Absolute site caved in and trapped a worker, yet the company continues to place workers in harm's way by not taking necessary measures to prevent trench collapses," said Kris E. Hoffman, OSHA's area director in Parsippany. "OSHA will not tolerate employers risking the lives of their workers."

The willful violations, with $128,700 in penalties, involve failing to ensure that the excavation spoil pile was at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation; ensure that the ladder extended 3 feet above the level being accessed; and provide cave-in protection for employees working in the excavation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violation, with a $9,240 penalty, was cited for failing to ensure that daily inspections were conducted by a competent person. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for a similar violation in 2008 at its Sayreville work site.

The serious violations, with $20,460 in penalties, include failing to train workers in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe trenching conditions, provide traffic control signage for the work zone, use a safe and acceptable means to determine the estimated location of underground utilities, implement respiratory protection and hazard communication programs, provide training and conduct medical evaluations for workers required to use respirators, provide training for employees who use hazardous chemicals and provide material safety data sheets at the site for hazardous chemicals. 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.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html. A copy of the citations is available at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/A-Absolute_Construction_Inc_315438598_9-9-11.pdf*.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany Area Office; telephone 973-263-1003. 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.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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