OSHA Cites Ala. Contractor for Trenching Hazards

September 22, 2004

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Parker Building Company Inc., headquartered in Auburn, Ala., for allegedly exposing workers to willful and serious safety hazards at an Aztec Road worksite in Greenville, Ala.

“We must ensure that employers protect their workers from trenching hazards,” said Ken Atha, OSHA’s Mobile area director. “Trench walls can collapse quickly and without warning, trapping workers. Fortunately, we were notified of the unsafe conditions at this job site and an inspector arrived before an accident occurred.”

OSHA issued one alleged willful citation to the company, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for failing to properly shore or slope a 16-foot-deep excavation. The agency issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Parker Building also received two alleged serious citations, with proposed penalties of $5,000, for failure to train employees to recognize hazards associated with trenching and for failing to provide workers with an adequate means of entering and exiting the 120 foot by 45 foot trench. OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The company has 15 days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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