Two workers installing a water main at Golf Road and Sayre Avenue in Morton Grove, Ill., were exposed to cave-in hazards that can bury a person in minutes. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. responsible for one willful violation because it failed to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. The proposed penalty totals $69,300.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A. Lamp Concrete Contractors was previously cited in 2010 and 2008 for trenching violations.
"Fatalities and injuries result from trenching hazards, so companies specializing in this work must protect their workers," said Angie Loftus, OSHA's area director for its Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill.. "OSHA implemented a trenching and excavation national emphasis program in the 1980s. A. Lamp Concrete Contractors should be aware of the safety regulations for trenching operations."
OSHA initiated the inspection on June 4, 2014, under its National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavation. An inspector witnessed employees working in a trench more than 8 ft. deep without cave-in protection.
OSHA trenching standards mandate that all excavations 5 ft. or deeper be protected against collapse.
A. Lamp Concrete, based in Schaumburg, Ill., has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Chicago North Office at 847-803-4800.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.