OSHA Proposes $136,200 in Fines Against Georgia-based Company

OSHA has proposed penalties of $136,200 against Gary's Grading & Pipeline Co. of Monroe, Ga., for eight alleged safety violations, following an inspection at a company worksite in McDonough, Ga., where an employee was struck by a rock while working in an unprotected trench.

"Trenching and excavation are among the most hazardous operations in construction, but we know how to make these operations safer--if employers will follow the rules," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office. "OSHA treats this as a serious problem, and employers who continue to ignore safety standards will face increasingly stiffer penalties."

Three repeat safety violations were issued with $120,000 in penalties for allowing employees to work in a trench that lacked adequate cave-in protection, did not have a means of exit within 25 feet of where employees were working, and had not been inspected by a competent person prior to employees entering after blasting. OSHA cited similar violations after a 2005 inspection of the company at a different site.

Three serious violations carrying penalties of $9,200 were issued for hazards associated with not planning for a medical emergency in case of a serious injury, deviating from a manufacturer's installation instructions for a trench box, and not protecting employees from a trench cave-in while installing a ladder.

The company was also cited for recordkeeping violations resulting in two other-than-serious violations with penalties of $7,000. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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