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DOL Logo OSHA News Release – Region 2

U.S. Department of Labor

Region 2 News Release:     BOS 2002-246
Monday, December 16, 2002
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075

Exposing Employees to Excavation Site Hazards Leads to OSHA Citations for Wynantskill, New York, Employer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The exposure of employees to a potential crushing accident from an unprotected trench and a damaged sling has resulted in federal safety citations and fines for a Wynantskill, NY, company. Casale Excavating, Inc., has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged serious and repeat safety violations carrying proposed penalties totaling $23,100.

According to John Tomich, OSHA area director in Albany, the citations result from an inspection by his office of an excavation site in North Greenbush, N.Y., on Nov. 5. The inspection found that an employee of Casale Excavating had been working in an excavation six feet deep that was not protected from cave-in. Employees were also observed using a damaged synthetic web sling to lift and position sections of eight-inch water pipe that were being lowered into the excavation.

"OSHA's safety standards require employers to protect employees from hazards that threaten life and limb," said Tomich. "In this case, the workers could have easily been buried in a trench cave-in or crushed by a dropped section of pipe. The trenching hazards are similar to ones for which this company has been cited before."

Casale Excavating will receive citations for one alleged serious violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $2,100 for allowing employees to use a damaged sling to lift heavy sections of piping, and for two alleged repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $21,000.

The repeat citations charge the company with exposing employees to the hazards of working in an unprotected, six-foot deep trench and failing to have a competent person inspect the excavation, adjacent areas and protective systems before the work began and as needed throughout the shift. The company was cited for similar violations in citations issued Aug. 18, 2000.

A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew, or should have known. A repeat violation occurs when a company has been cited for similar violations within the past three years.

Within 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties, the company may comply with them, may request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, and/or may contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA's Albany area office is located at 401 New Karner Road; its telephone number is 518-464-4338. Additional information on OSHA's safety and health standards can be found on the OSHA web site at www.osha.gov.

The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.

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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