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Region 5 News Release: 09-1363-CHI
Nov. 25, 2009
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976

US Labor Department's OSHA cites West Lafayette, Ind., excavator for dangerous safety violations during trenching job in Danville, Ill.

DANVILLE, Ill. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Atlas Excavating Inc. in West Lafayette, Ind., with two alleged willful violations for failing to follow federal workplace safety standards at a trenching operation in Danville. Proposed penalties total $130,200.

OSHA opened an inspection in May 2009 at excavation jobsites in Danville after receiving information that employees were working in excavations as deep as 8 feet without cave-in protection. As a result of the inspection, OSHA has issued two willful violations to the company for failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards and one serious violation for failing to provide workers in a trench a means of exit.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. 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.

"It has long been known that cave-in fatalities are entirely preventable," said OSHA Area Director Nick Walters in Peoria, Ill. "Any employer involved in trenching and excavation can protect its workers by following OSHA's clear regulations. Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of workers and their families."

Atlas Excavating has been inspected in Indiana by OSHA seven times since 2000 with numerous serious violations issued.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area di