OSHA cited Samara Construction Inc., of Monaca, Pa., for violating safety and health standards and proposed penalties of $108,150.
Samaras is a sewer line construction company and was installing approximately 3 miles of gravity sewer line for the town of Cherry Hill, Pa.
According to OSHA, the company has been inspected and cited for trenching hazards four times in the past year.
"This company routinely ignores OSHA''s trenching standards," said Robert Szymanski, area director for the Pittsburgh OSHA office. "Trenching accidents, many of which result in fatalities, are among the leading cause of injury in our region. Most of these tragedies could be avoided if contractors took proper precautions, or in more simple terms, began to dig trenches, not graves."
Samaras was issued one willful violation with a penalty of $42,000 for failure to provide shorting or sloping of a trench over 8 feet deep thereby increasing the risk of cave-ins.
Four repeat violations, with penalties of $66,150 for failure to provide a means of egress, failure to conduct daily inspections by a competent person, failure to wear personal protective equipment and failure to keep the spoil pile more than 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
The company was cited for similar violations during inspections conducted in Oct. 1998, June, August and October of 1999.
Samaras has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations before the OSHRC.
by Virginia Sutcliffe