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Region 4 News Release: 11-1712-ATL (005)
Jan. 10, 2012
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov     wald.michael@dol.gov

Louisiana pipeline construction company cited by US Department of Labor's
OSHA for trenching violations in Georgia; proposed fines total $140,000

NEWNAN, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sunland Construction Inc. with two willful violations for exposing workers to the possibility of a trench collapse while replacing high pressure gas lines along Fischer Road in Newnan. OSHA is proposing $140,000 in penalties.

"Cave-ins can happen quickly, without warning and with deadly consequences. OSHA will not allow employers to be indifferent to protecting their employees against these hazards," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office.

OSHA began its inspection Aug. 12 when an agency investigator noticed that the employer had failed to provide a safe means of egress from a 5-foot-10-inch trench and protect workers from a cave-in hazard. As a result of these conditions, the company was cited for the two willful violations. 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.

Sunland Construction, which provides pipeline construction and related services, has been cited by OSHA three other times since 2010 at locations in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. The violations cited in Georgia are similar to ones cited after OSHA inspected the company's construction site in Deer Park, Texas. Headquartered in Eunice, La., the company has an eastern district office in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SunlandCstrCompany_314644311_0103_12.pdf*.

Sunland Construction Inc. 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 OSHA's Atlanta-West office, which is located at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga. 30080.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-West office at 678-903-7301.

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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