OSHA Fines Georgia Construction Company $42,000 For Cave-In Hazards

                               Atlanta, GA (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Latex Construction Co. Inc. of Conyers, Ga., for failing to provide its employees with protection against cave-ins while working in a trench. The violations occurred while the company laid 12 miles of natural gas pipe in a trench along Old National Highway in Atlanta. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

OSHA issued the company one repeat citation with a $35,000 penalty alleging that it failed to provide cave-in protection in a trench approximately 150 feet long, 17 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Without adequate protection, such as a trench box, workers can be crushed or completely engulfed by cave-ins or when trench walls otherwise collapse. Fatalities or serous injuries can occur.

"This employer is aware of OSHA's requirements but left the workers unprotected," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Being irresponsible about workers' safety is unacceptable, and OSHA will not tolerate it."

A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Latex Construction was cited for the same violation while performing work in Florida in 2007.

OSHA also issued the company one serious citation with a $7,000 penalty alleging that it failed to provide a ladder for escaping a trench within 25 feet of those working in an excavation. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Detailed information about excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga. 30080; telephone 770-984-8700.
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