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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-193
Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000
Contact: Walter Dierks
OSHA FINES DUBLIN, GA., COMPANY $49,000 FOLLOWING ACCIDENT AT HOUSTON COUNTY JOB SITE
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Dublin, Ga.-based company and proposed penalties totaling $49,000 following an accident at a Houston County job site.
According to Raymond Finney, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director, Middle Georgia Road Builders and Developers, Inc., had been hired by Houston County to construct two new cells at the existing solid waste landfill in Kathleen, Ga. The company removes tree stumps, levels ground and builds a berm around the cells. Finney explained that the accident happened on Sept. 13 when a motorized compactor turned over catching the operator under its roll-over protection system and amputating his left leg.
Following an inspection of the accident, OSHA cited the company for one willful safety violation with a fine of $49,000. Finney stated, "Due to a language barrier, an employee was allowed to operate a large motorized compactor without proper training."
OSHA found that the injured worker was of Hispanic origin and spoke no English, while his supervisors spoke no Spanish. In addition, all safety instructions for the equipment were in English only. "As a result," said Finney, "the worker entered a sloped area that was too steep for the compactor to remain upright."
Finney added, "We are seeing an increase in accidents involving Hispanic workers who have not been properly trained because of a language barrier. Employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment for their employees, but that goal can't be achieved if training is unavailable in a language the worker can clearly understand. Had such training been provided, this tragic accident could have been prevented."
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
Middle Georgia Road Builders and Developers has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the landfill job site was conducted by OSHA's area office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084; telephone: (770) 493-6644 or (770) 493-6742.
OSHA urges employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the Atlanta-East area office. OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
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