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Region 5 News Release: 13-1747-CHI
Sept. 17, 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 Feutz Contractors Inc. for exposing
workers to trench hazards at job site in Mahomet, Ill.

PARIS, Ill. – Feutz Contractors Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for four safety violations, including one willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at a construction site in Mahomet. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after a complaint on April 26 alleged cave-in hazards at the site. Proposed penalties total $67,760.

"Feutz Contractors has a responsibility to follow safety standards that protect workers from excavation hazards," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "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 sewer pipes and a manhole in a trench approximately 6 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.

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 to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site to identify and correct hazards. 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.

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.

The company has been inspected by OSHA five times since 2003.

Feutz Contractors Inc. 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 Peoria 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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