OSHA has cited Grade-A Excavating Inc. for alleged health and safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $107,000.
Headquartered in Capitol Heights, Md., Grade-A is an underground utility installation contractor employing 25 workers.
OSHA initiated an investigation on Jan. 3, 2000 under its inspection scheduling system for industries with high injury rates. At the time of the inspection, five Grade-A workers were working at a job site on the grounds of Fort George Meade in Maryland.
According to Leonard Moore, area director of the Baltimore-Washington OSHA office, the company was cited for three willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $105,000 and one serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $2,000.
The willful violations include the company''s failure to provide a means of egress in excavations that are 4 feet or more in depth, failure to maintain spoil pile or equipment at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation and failure to protect employees from cave-ins by an adequate protective system. The serious violation relates to the company''s failure to initiate and maintain necessary programs.
"Fortunately, we were able to identify these hazards before any accidents occurred," said Moore. "We encourage all employers to protect excavation workers by digging trenches not graves."
by Virginia Sutcliffe