OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
MONACA COMPANY CITED FOR UNSAFE TRENCHING CONDITIONS
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Samaras Construction, Inc., of Monaca, Pa. for allegedly violating safety and health standards and proposed penalties of $108,150. Samaras is a sewer line construction company and was installing approximately three miles of gravity sewer line for the town of Cherry Hill, Pa.
According to Robert Szymanski, area director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office, the company has been inspected and cited for trenching hazards four times in the past year. "This company routinely ignores OSHA's trenching standards," said Szymanski. "Trenching accidents, many of which result in fatalities, are among the leading cause of injury in our region. Most of these tragedies could be avoided if contractors took proper precautions, or in more simple terms, began to dig trenches, not graves."
The company was issued one willful violation with a penalty of $42,000 for failure to provide shorting or sloping of a trench over eight feet deep thereby increasing the risk of cave-ins. Four repeat violations, with penalties of $66,150 for failure to provide a means of egress, failure to conduct daily inspections by a competent person, failure to wear personal protective equipment and failure to keep the spoil pile more than two feet from the edge of the trench.
The company was cited for similar violations during inspections conducted in Oct. 1998, June, August and October of 1999.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations.
Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citations have become the final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The firm has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply, 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.
OSHA urges employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the Pittsburgh area office. OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline - 1-800-321-OSHA - may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside normal business hours.
TDD Number: 1-800-927-9273
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