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Region 9 News Release: 13-191-SAN (SF-12)
February 1, 2013
Contact: Deanne Amaden      Jose A. Carnevali
Phone: : 415-625-2630      415-625-2631

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Casa Grande, Ariz.-based Ellison-Mills
Contracting for failing to protect workers during excavation work
Worker dies at the Chandler, Ariz., Gila River Indian Community work site

PHOENIX – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Casa Grande, Ariz.-based Ellison-Mills Contracting with three serious violations following an investigation into the death of a worker that occurred in August 2012 while an 8-inch waterline was being installed at the Gila River Indian Community in Chandler. The employee was working in a trench when he was struck by a bucket shovel that was not properly secured via a quick coupler to excavating equipment.

"OSHA continues to see tragic cases where workers die because the necessary steps were not followed to ensure quick couplers are properly connected prior to starting excavation work," said T. Zachary Barnett, director of OSHA's Phoenix Area Office. "Employee safety must be the top priority. It is the employer's responsibility to assess the hazards and fix them."

OSHA cited the contractor for failing to visually inspect the quick-coupler device prior to or after attachment and prior to use; instruct the operator to recognize and avoid operation of the excavator's bucket shovel in close proximity to other workers; and ensure the work area was free from recognized hazards, including struck-by hazards during trenching.

Information on safe operation of quick-coupling devices for securing hydraulic excavator buckets is available through an OSHA safety and health information bulletin at

Proposed penalties total $8,400. Ellison-Mills Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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). While the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health has authority over most workplace safety and health programs in Arizona, federal OSHA has jurisdiction over contractors working on Indian reservations.

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


U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.

OSHA News Release - Table of Contents

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