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Region 5 News Release: 09-931-CHI
Aug. 11, 2009
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA levies fines against A-1 Excavating following New Richmond, Wis., fatality

BLOOMER, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited A-1 Excavating Inc. in Bloomer with one willful and four serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following the death of a worker.

OSHA began its investigation in April when a worker was fatally lacerated while cutting pipe in a trench at a worksite in New Richmond, Wis. The investigation revealed hazards cited as serious for failure to maintain equipment in a safe condition, failure to provide safe egress from a trench, failure to provide training and the unsafe operation of equipment near or under overhead power lines. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The willful citation was for failing to protect workers in an excavation from cave-ins. A willful citation is issued when an employer knew the hazard existed and failed to correct it.

"A-1 Excavating has been inspected at various Wisconsin worksites 33 times since 1982 and has received 44 citations," said OSHA Area Director Mark Hysell in Eau Claire, Wis. "It's long past time that A-1 Excavating make a serious commitment to making certain their workers go home safe at the end of every shift."

Hysell added that in February, OSHA issued this company $693,000 in penalties for 11 willful violations of federal trenching standards, which A-1 Excavating is contesting before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The company, with current proposed penalties totaling $98,000, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an infor