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OSHA cites construction company for alleged failure to protect workers against cave-ins (1/23)

OSHA is proposing $119,000 in penalties against WDG Construction Inc. for seven safety violations that exposed their employees to possible injury or death at two of its construction sites.

OSHA is proposing two willful citations with $99,000 in penalties after inspections conducted in July and August 2008 revealed that the Wesley Chapel, Fla., company violated OSHA standards by allegedly failing to provide employees with protection from cave-ins while they worked in trenches. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The agency is proposing a repeat violation with an $8,000 penalty after it found that material excavated from a trench allegedly was placed too close to the edge of the excavation, making it possible for the soil to fall back into the trench where employees were working. The company had been cited for a similar violation following a 2007 inspection.

Four serious violations with penalties totaling $12,000 are being proposed for the company's alleged failure to control water from seeping and accumulating in trenches, not providing proper ladders for employees working in trenches, not training employees to recognize unsafe conditions and failing to instruct employees in ladder safety.

"These proposed penalties reflect the seriousness of the dangers faced by employees and management's indifference to their employees' safety," said Les Grove, OSHA's area director in Tampa.

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 Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's area office in Tampa.

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