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Region 2 News Release:     III-02-09-26-115-DE
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2002
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102


Trench Hazards Bring Delaware Contractor OSHA Citations and
Nearly $50,000 In Fines Following Fatal Worksite Accident

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. -- Failure to protect workers from cave-in hazards at a Rehoboth Beach work site may cost Felton-based Marvel Contracting, Inc. $49,500 in penalties according to citations issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA initiated its inspection following an April 5 accident that killed a 22-year old pipe layer, William Harris II, when a portion of an unprotected trench collapsed. Marvel Contracting was installing storm drain piping at the Kinsale Glen Development when the fatality occurred.

"Marvel Contracting failed to take appropriate action to protect workers in the trench," said Lacy Sutton, area director in the OSHA Wilmington office. "Excavation walls can collapse quickly and without warning. Special precautions need to be taken to prevent cave-ins."

The company received one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $35,000 for failing to provide workers with adequate cave-in protection, such as shoring or properly sloped excavation walls.

Serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $14,500, were also issued for the company's failure to remove damaged slings (used to hoist materials); allowing employees to operate a damaged excavator; failure to keep materials or equipment at least two feet from the edge of excavations; failure to conduct required daily inspections of excavations and adjacent areas for evidence of hazardous conditions and failure to provide job-specific safety and health instructions to employees.

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. A serious violation is one where there is 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 to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The inspection was conducted by the Wilmington area office, Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 North King Street, Room 2209, Wilmington, De. 19801. Telephone: (302) 573-6518.


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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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