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Region 5 News Release: 13-770-CHI
May 9, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp.
for failing to protect workers in trench at job site in Chicago

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp. in Waukegan for five safety violations, including one willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after an OSHA inspector witnessed apparent cave-in hazards at a construction site in Chicago on Nov. 5, 2012. Proposed penalties total $72,380.

"Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp. has a responsibility to follow safety standards that protect workers from excavation hazards," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. "These types of hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. No job should put workers at risk due to an employer's failure to properly protect and train them."

The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection to workers installing a valve vault for a water main in a trench approximately 8 feet deep. 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 company has been cited previously for failing to provide cave-in protection in May 2009 and March 2011.

Additionally, three serious violations were cited for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work, keep excavated material away from the edge of the trench and have a guard on a hand grinder. 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.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to provide a ground fault circuit interrupter on a portable generator used on the site. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

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/index.html.

Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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) or the agency's Chicago North Office at 847-803-4800.

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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