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OSHA Cites Wisconsin Excavator After Witnessing Safety Violations During Trenching Job

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Safety

Tagged: , , ,

Published on March 03, 2009 with 2 Comments

Photo of safe trenching procedures courtesy of Jackal Enterprises

Photo of safe trenching procedures courtesy of Jackal Enterprises

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited A-1 Excavating Inc., Bloomer, WI, for alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety standards, proposing nearly $700,000 in penalties for numerous life-threatening violations at a trenching operation in Weston, WI.
 
In September 2008, OSHA opened an inspection at the excavation jobsite in Weston after an agency inspector observed employees exposed to cave-in hazards while working in an eight-foot-deep, unprotected trench. As a result of the inspection, OSHA issued six instance-by-instance willful citations to the company for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards, and five instance-by-instance willful citations for failing to set the spoil pile material excavated from the trench two feet or more from the edge of the excavation.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of—or plain indifference to—the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“It has long been known that cave-in fatalities are entirely preventable,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Donald Shalhoub. “Any employer who is involved in trenching and excavation can avoid such terrible tragedies by following OSHA’s clear regulations. Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their employees and their families.”

A-1 Excavating Inc. has received 38 OSHA citations since 1982, including at least eight citations for hazards associated with potential cave-ins, and seven citations for having the spoil pile too close to the trench edge.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Appleton, WI, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety, including an interactive e-Tool, is available on OSHA’s Web site.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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2 Comments

There are currently 2 Comments on OSHA Cites Wisconsin Excavator After Witnessing Safety Violations During Trenching Job. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Do you really thing $700,000 was the right amount for the fine?

  2. The OSHA standards for trenching and excavation work require a “competent person” at the excavation site. Usually find there is no competent person in most cases like this.

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