Contracting company, Site Engineering Inc., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three safety violations. Two of the three violations are considered serious and one of them is being referred to as a willful violation, meaning that the company has committed the violation with intent and knowledge, voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The pending penalties will more than likely total $65,800.
The willful violation carries the heaviest fine since it is a blatant disregard for worker safety and is set at $56,000. In the case of Site Engineering Inc., the violation involved failing to remove workers from a trench that had an inadequate protective system, exposing them to what could result in a cave-in. The worker responsible for overseeing this work-site should have noticed this hazard and reported it. However there was no evidence that this supervisor took any actions in order to protect the workers.
The two serious violations involved failing to train workers to recognize trenching and excavation hazards, and failing to provide head protection to an employee working inside a 17-foot-deep trench who was exposed to “struck-by” hazards from an excavator bucket and falling objects overhead. This is definitely considered a serious violation which is defined by OSHA as a situation where there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could result from a known hazard. These violations carry a penalty of $9,800 per incident.
The director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office Andre Richards stated that “Ignoring obvious safety hazards exposes workers to serious injury or death, and employers have a duty to be sure that workers have been adequately trained and given the tools needed to work safely.” It’s quite sad that employers fail to keep their own workers safe, and you may be surprised by the prevalence of employer negligence. Always be sure to speak up if you think there may be a potential hazard in your own place of work, and do not be afraid to report any uncertainties to OSHA. As an employee, you have a right to safety at work and in most cases, your right to safety is protected by the law.
Be informed. Be aware. Be prepared.
Ty Wilson is a Georgia workers compensation attorney, with offices in Savannah and Atlanta, who provides free information to the injured and the families of the injured. Visit tywilsonlaw.com to order his FREE Georgia workers compensation “Special Reports” and to read his many articles and to watch his videos.
If you have specific questions for a workers compensation attorney in Georgia, give Ty at call 912-508-4711 in Savannah or 770-948-5454 in Atlanta.