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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release ATL: 03-001
Fri., Jan. 3, 2003
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne G.T. Breezley
Phone: (404) 562-2076 (770) 493-6644 ext 0
Hazards; OSHA Proposes $65,800 in Penalties
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rooter Plus for exposing employees to the risk of trenching hazards at an Atlanta job site. Proposed penalties total $65,800.
OSHA began an inspection of the Clairmont Road site July 3, after receiving complaints of unsafe conditions at the excavation where Rooter Plus workers were repairing and replacing existing sewer lines. Investigators found company employees working in a 15-foot-deep trench without adequate cave-in protection.
The company had installed a trench box at the location, but the height of the system was inadequate for the depth of the trench. OSHA issued an alleged willful citation to the company for failing to follow the manufacturer's instructions to install a second trench box on top of the first when the depth of an excavation exceeds the height of the first trench box. The citation carries a proposed penalty of $49,000.
"Safety standards for trenching work are aimed at preventing a cave-in," said Gei-Thae Breezley, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director. "This company is well aware of what the standards require, but instead risked a tragic accident."
The company also received six alleged serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $16,800 for placing loose rocks and soil at the edge of the trench and allowing excavated material to accumulate where it could fall into the trench; failing to provide employees with adequate protective equipment while they worked and a ladder to enter and exit the trench; failing to provide safety training, and failure by the designated competent person to correct hazardous conditions as they occurred.
OSHA has developed a national trenching and excavation special emphasis program to aid employers and employees in recognizing and reducing the hazards associated with these operations. Employers may request individual compliance assistance from a local OSHA office and attend agency-sponsored workshops. This part of the program is separate from the agency's strong enforcement effort, which allows OSHA staff to inspect any trench or excavation that appears hazardous.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Staff from the Atlanta-East OSHA office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Bldg 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga., conducted the investigation; phone: (770) 493-6644.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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