NEP Unearths Trenching, Excavation Hazards in Arkansas

OSHA has cited Harrison, Ark.-based Henley Construction Inc. with two willful and three repeat violations of OSHA standards and has proposed $63,000 in penalties following an inspection the agency's Little Rock Area Office began Nov. 4, 2008, as part of a National Emphasis Program.

Investigation of Henley's worksites in Clinton, Ark., found alleged willful violations in the company's failure to provide training in avoiding hazards associated with working in trenches eight feet deep or more and failure to provide a means of egress while employees are working at excavation worksites that are four feet deep or more. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

"Failure to protect employees from potential trenching and excavation hazards is unacceptable," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock, Ark. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."

Repeat violations cited include the company's failure to ensure employees working in trenches eight feet deep are adequately protected from cave-ins and failure to provide the use of personal protective equipment. In this case, employees were not provided with hard hats, OSHA said. A repeat violation is defined as a violation that previously was cited where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

Henley has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Little Rock, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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