The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dean Grading Inc., Winston, Ga., for reportedly exposing workers to trenching hazards at a Villa Rica construction site. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $52,000.
“A member of the Trench Safety Task Force Alliance alerted the employer to safety hazards observed at the corner of Dallas Highway and North Avenue,” said Andre Richards, OSHA’s Atlanta-West area director. “OSHA was notified when the company made no attempt to abate the hazards.”
The company received one willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $49,000 for failing to properly shore, slope or use protective equipment in two trenches over five feet deep. The agency issues a willful citation when an employer has shown intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Richards explained that OSHA, the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Safety, Health and Environmental Technology Division, formed an alliance in October 2004 to provide information to employers in an effort to abate trenching hazards and reduce worker injuries and deaths.
Education and assistance in implementing safe work practices are key components of the alliance, but OSHA retains the authority to initiate inspections when situations warrant.
Dean Grading also received two serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $3,000, for failing to provide employees with a safe means of entering and exiting one trench and using an unsafe ladder in the second.
The 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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