The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Gilco Contracting Co. Inc. for exposing workers to trenching hazards at a state Route 112 worksite in Gateswood, Ala. The agency is proposing $59,000 in total penalties.
“OSHA is committed to preventing workers from being trapped in trenches, said Ken Atha, OSHA’s Mobile area office director. “Employers must have adequate protective systems in place during excavations, which are among the most hazardous jobs in the construction industry.”
OSHA issued one willful citation to Gilco, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for failing to provide employees working in an eight-foot-deep trench with a protective system, such as properly sloping, benching, shoring the trench walls, or using a trench box. A willful citation is issued when a company has shown intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The company also received four serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $10,000, for failing to: provide a ladder or other adequate means for employees to enter and exit a trench; have a designated competent person on site to inspect for any changes in trench conditions; train employees in safe trenching practices, including hazard recognition, and keep excavated material from accumulating within two feet of a trench wall.
The Tuscaloosa-based company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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