OSHA Cites Pa. Company Following Death of Worker

Aug. 7, 2001
OSHA issued citations and\r\nproposed penalties of $113,000 against James T. O'Hara Co. of Moscow,\r\nPa., following an inspection of a trench cave-in where one worker\r\ndied.

OSHA issued citations for alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $113,000 against James T. O''Hara Co. of Moscow, Pa., following an inspection of a trench cave-in where one worker died.

The alleged willful violations are categorized as egregious. "This employer has considerable history with OSHA which resulted in citations and penalties for failure to protect workers in trenches," said Andrew Hedesh, area director of the Wilkes-Barre OSHA office. "After every inspection the employer promised to correct the hazard but continued to exhibit a blatant disregard for the safety of his employees."

The company was doing excavation work in Wilkes-Barre, on Feb. 16, when a trench collapsed killing one worker and seriously injuring another.

James T. O''Hara Co. is also being cited for failure to protect workers in a trench on Feb. 6, on the same site at the beginning of the project.

The two alleged egregious, willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $49,000 each, were issued for exposing employees to cave-ins.

A $9,000 penalty was proposed for alleged serious violations for failure to place the spoil pile at least two feet from the edge of the excavation, not maintaining a safety and health program, and not providing a support system to protect workers below a weakened sidewalk.

The alleged repeat violation, with a penalty of $6,000, was for failure to provide a stairway, structural ramp or ladder in the excavation where employees were working and failure to provide adequate training regarding excavation hazards.

The company has 15 working days to contest or comply with the citations.

by Virginia Foran

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Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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