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Region 5 News Release: 11-1394-CHI
Oct. 4, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites G.A. Rich & Sons in Lexington, Ill.,
for failing to protect trench workers; proposed penalties exceed $59,000

LEXINGTON, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited G.A. Rich & Sons of Deer Creek for one repeat and one serious safety violation for failing to protect workers from cave-ins while performing trenching operations to install new water main and sewer service connections throughout the city of Lexington. The company faces proposed penalties of $59,290 following an inspection conducted under the agency's Trenching and Excavation National Emphasis Program.

"Cave-ins during excavations are a leading cause of worker fatalities," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "Safety should be paramount on every job site, and OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

The repeat violation, with a proposed penalty of $53,900, was cited for failing to protect workers who were installing a sewer service line in a trench approximately 7 feet below grade. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. 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. G.A. Rich & Sons was cited for cave-in protection hazards at a work site in Germantown Hills, Ill., in 2006.

The serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $5,390, was cited for failing to keep excavated materials or equipment at least 2 feet from the edge of excavations. 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 on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

To ask questions, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033.

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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