More Bad News from the Trenches: 2 Contractors Fined $94,250 in Atlanta

OSHA has proposed $94,250 in penalties for seven safety violations after inspecting an Atlanta worksite at which employees of two construction contractors were installing storm drainage and sewer lines. The agency cited Plateau Excavation Inc. of Austell, Ga., with two repeat safety violations and proposed penalties of $75,000. Company violations include exposing employees to cave-in hazards by placing excavated material within two feet of the trench and allowing employees to work in an 18-foot-deep trench without an adequate protective system. The company also was cited with one serious violation carrying a $7,000 proposed penalty for not providing employees with a means of egress from the trench.

Graham, Ala.-based Beck Inc. was cited with four serious safety violations and $12,250 in proposed penalties. OSHA noted the contractor failed to provide hazard recognition training to employees, provided inadequate access for a 24-foot-deep trench, allowed excavated materials to be placed too near the edge of a trench, and did not provide an adequate protective system for employees working in a trench.

"These employers were well aware of the OSHA requirements, yet in the interest of saving time, bypassed critical safety measures and placed their employees at serious risk," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, OSHA announced yesterday.

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