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Region 4 News Release: 08-1235-ATL (201)
Sept. 4, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA proposes $63,000 in penalties against Pike Electric for safety violations at Mobile, Ala., site
Mount Airy, N.C.-based electrical contractor fined after trench collapse

MOBILE, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $63,000 in penalties against Pike Electric Inc. for violations found at a site the company was excavating in Mobile.

An employee working in a trench suffered severe injuries when the near-vertical walls of the excavation collapsed on him, partially engulfing him in dirt.

"Pike Electric has lots of experience in trenching, but the company's management still failed to take basic preventative measures that could have saved this employee from harm," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's interim area director in Mobile.

OSHA is proposing a $56,000 penalty against the company for willfully failing to protect employees from cave-ins by an adequate protective system. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

One serious safety violation with a $7,000 penalty is being issued to the company for failing to protect employees from materials falling or rolling into the excavation.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review