$171,600 in Fines Issued to Firm for Cave-In Hazards at Three Worksites

OSHA cited Don Wartko Construction Inc. with five willful safety violations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at three separate worksites in Cleveland.

OSHA has cited Don Wartko Construction Inc. in Kent, Ohio, with five willful safety violations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at three separate worksites in Cleveland. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $171,600.

"Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "There is no excuse for this employer to repeatedly jeopardize its workers' safety. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Following a January inspection, Don Wartko Construction was cited for two willful violations with proposed penalties of $72,600 for failing to provide cave-in protection for workers in a trench more than 5 feet below grade and to provide a safe means of egress. In March, an OSHA inspector again observed the company allowing employees to work with no cave-in protection, and cited the company for another willful citation with a penalty of $36,300. The company was observed a third time, also in March, and cited with two willful violations for failing to provide cave-in protection and a safe egress for workers, carrying proposed penalties of $62,700.

These inspections were conducted under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

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