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OSHA News Release – Region 3
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 3 News Release: USDL: III-00-06-29-047-MD
Thurs., June 29, 2000
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
PHONE: OFFICE: (215) 861-5102
CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD COMPANY CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED TRENCHING VIOLATIONS; MORE THAN $100,000 PROPOSED IN PENALTIES
Excavation Companies Encouraged to Dig Trenches Not Graves
The U.S. Department of Labor has cited Grade-A Excavating, Inc. for alleged health and safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $107,000. Headquartered in Capitol Heights, MD, Grade-A is an underground utility installation contractor employing approximately 25 workers.
OSHA initiated an investigation on Jan. 3, 2000 under its inspection scheduling system for industries with high injury rates. At the time of the inspection, five Grade-A workers were working at a job site on the grounds of Fort George Meade in Maryland.
According to Leonard Moore, area director of the Baltimore-Washington OSHA office, the company was cited for three willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $105,000 and one serious violation , with a proposed penalty of $2,000.
The willful violations include the company's failure to provide a means of egress in excavations that are four feet or more in depth; failure to maintain spoil pile or equipment at least two feet from the edge of the excavation and failure to protect employees from cave-ins by an adequate protective system. The serious violation relates to the company's failure to initiate and maintain necessary programs.
"Fortunately, we were able to identify these hazards before any accidents occurred," says Leonard Moore, area director of the Baltimore-Washington OSHA office. "We encourage all employers to protect excavation workers by digging trenches not graves."
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company 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.
The inspection was conducted by the Baltimore-Washington area office, 1099 Winterson Road, Suite 140, Linthicum, MD 21090. Telephone: (410) 865-2055.
This information will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD). Telephone: (800) 927-9273.
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