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Region 8 News Release:   02-OSHA
02-01-2000
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
PHONE: Office:303-844-1302/Home: (303) 690-3824

OSHA FINES COLORADO SPRINGS CONTRACTOR $112,700 FOR WILLFUL AND SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF TRENCHING AND EXCAVATING STANDARDS

Cornella Brothers Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., was cited Monday for willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and issued proposed penalties totaling $112,700.

The violations and the penalties were issued by the Englewood Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an inspection of an excavation in Colorado Springs. This inspection was initiated by a self-referral from an OSHA employee under a National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavating. OSHA has targeted trenching and excavation activities since the 1970's.

John Healy, OSHA Area Director in Englewood, said the violations resulted because the employer failed to provide adequate sloping, shoring, shields, or equivalent systems to protect employees from cave-in hazards. Further, the employer allowed excavated material to be stored at the edge of the excavation.

Additional citations were issued for accumulations of water in the excavation, lack of a safe means of egress, and failure to utilize hard hats.

"Disregard for employee safety is not acceptable," Healy said. "The cave-in hazards were obvious and supervisors should have removed workers from the potentially life-threatening conditions."

Healy said studies estimate that 100 employees are killed in excavation-related incidents each year in the United States. Over the past year OSHA has investigated ten instances of employees being caught in cave-ins in Colorado which includes one fatality.

Healy can be reached at (303) 843-4500 (x-137).

OSHA cited Cornella Brothers for:

  • Failure to place excavated material a safe distance from the edge of the trench.

    Willful violation $49,000

  • Failure to provide an adequate protective system for employees working in an excavation and failure to remove employees from a known hazardous excavation.

    Willful violation $49,000

  • Three Serious Violations for allowing water to accumulate in the trench, failure to provide a safe means of egress, and not utilizing hard hats.

    Serious violations $14,700

According to OSHA records, the company has three prior citations for unsafe excavations with two in 1998 and one in 1995.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA Act and its regulations.

A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Cornella Brothers Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

###

EDITORS NOTE: A photo to go with this news release is available and can be sent to you at your request via e-mail. The color photo, taken by OSHA compliance officers investigating the site, shows an employee of the cited company working at the bottom of this dangerous excavation.

To arrange for an e-mail transmission of this photo please contact:

Rich Kulczewski
USDOL/Office of Public Affairs
(303) 844-1302
kulczewski-richard@dol.gov


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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