Civil Contractor Hit with Willful Citation for Trench Violations at Fort Bragg

OSHA is proposing $57,000 in penalties against Triangle Grading and Paving Inc. for safety violations that exposed its employees to cave-in hazards working at a trench in Fort Bragg, N.C. The inspection, conducted in September 2009, revealed that the Burlington, N.C.-based company violated OSHA standards by failing to provide workers with protection from cave-ins while they worked in a trench.

The agency is proposing one willful citation with $50,000 in penalties for failing to protect employees working in an 8-foot deep trench with sufficient shoring and sloping to prevent a collapse. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Two serious violations with proposed penalties totaling $7,000 have been issued for failing to provide workers with a safe exit and to keep excavated soil at least two feet back from the edge of the excavation to prevent loose soil from falling into the trench. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

"Triangle Grading and Paving has a history of trenching violations and is fully aware of required safety standards to protect its workers," said Suzanne Street, OSHA's area director in Raleigh, N.C. "This employer continues to put workers at risk by ignoring these safety standards."

Although North Carolina is one of 22 states that operate their own job safety and health programs, under approval and monitoring by federal OSHA, this inspection was conducted by federal OSHA because the contractor was working on a federal installation.

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 Raleigh Area Office.

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