Pipeline Firm Digs Up $62,800 in Fines for Excavation Hazards

OSHA has cited Gary's Grading and Pipeline Co. Inc. of Monroe, Ga., with four safety violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing a tie-in pipe between two manhole basins at a site in Gainesville, Ga. Proposed penalties total $62,800.

The company is being cited with two repeat violations and $56,000 in proposed penalties for failing to inspect a trench after conditions changed. In addition, the company is being cited for exposing workers to engulfment hazards by not having a protective system in place to prevent a trench collapse. The company was cited previously for these same violations, most recently in 2007.

The citations also include two serious violations with a proposed penalty of $6,800 for exposing workers to fall hazards, and creating a collapse hazard by failing to keep excavated and other material or equipment at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation.

"Disregarding workers' safety by leaving them unprotected from potential cave-in hazards is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office in Georgia.

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper— which this one was—must be protected against collapse. Detailed information about excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

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.

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