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Sept. 17, 2010
Contact: Elizabeth Todd     Juan Rodriguez
E-mail: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov     rodriguez.juan@dol.gov
Phone: 972-850-4710     972-850-4709

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Austin, Texas-based
Kinney's Commercial for excavation hazards

AUSTIN, Texas - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Kinney's Commercial Inc. in Austin with alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible excavation cave-ins. Proposed penalties total $40,750.

"This employer put its workers at risk for injury or death by not implementing required safeguards to prevent excavation hazards," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Employees are entitled to a safe and healthful workplace."

OSHA's Austin Area Office began its investigation on April 2 at the company's worksite on West Slaughter Lane. The inspection was initiated under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavations after an OSHA inspector observed an employee climbing down a ladder into an excavation without shoring to prevent a possible cave-in. The inspection found near vertical excavation walls to depths greater than 8 feet, water accumulating in the bottom of the hole and soil sloughing off from the sides of the trench.

A willful violation was issued for failing to provide cave-in protection such as a metal trench box where the excavation walls were not sloped or benched. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Serious violations include failing to have a competent person remove employees from the excavation site to prevent injuries from a possible cave in and to prevent water from accumulating in the excavation. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial prob