A-1 Excavating Agrees to pay $474,000 in Penalty, Abate Hazards

Underground construction contractor A-1 Excavating Inc., headquartered in Bloomer, has agreed to pay $474,000 in penalties as part of a settlement agreement with OSHA addressing hazards cited during three inspections. The company also will take comprehensive steps to upgrade worker safety and health at its worksites.

The settlement agreement involves three separate excavation hazard inspections including one during September 2008 at a worksite in Weston, Wis., where OSHA proposed penalties totaling $693,000; another during August 2009 at a New Richmond, Wis., worksite, with penalties totaling $98,000; and the third during September 2009 at a worksite in Merrimac, Wis., with penalties totaling $70,000.

The settlement signed on Sept. 30 resolves all issues relating to the three inspections and affirms all instances of alleged willful violations.

Under the agreement, A-1 Excavating has agreed to abate all the cited hazards and take the following additional steps beyond what is required under OSHA standards:

  • Select and employ a full-time safety director to have authority and responsibility for safety and health on all projects.
  • Develop and implement site-specific safety and health plans for all major projects, ensure that the job superintendent reads the plan and ensure that all employees are briefed on and have access to the plan.
  • Provide additional safety and health training to all employees, including supervisory employees.
  • Identify all jobsites to OSHA before work begins and allow access to jobsites without the need for a warrant for the next three years.
  • Reduce the salary of job superintendents and project managers who fail to comply with applicable OSHA requirements.
  • Retain a third-party safety consultant to audit trenching and excavation work and to conduct unannounced worksite inspections.
  • Conduct monthly foremen meetings during the construction season to discuss safety and health issues.

"We are pleased that A-1 Excavating has agreed to take significant steps to ensure worker safety at their worksites," said Mark Hysell, OSHA area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "It has long been known that cave-in injuries and fatalities are preventable, and A-1's renewed commitment to worker safety is a positive step to preventing these accidents."

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