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Chicago engineering company cited for trenching hazards for second time in 2014

Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. faces $147,000 in penalties

trenchFor the second time this year, OSHA has cited Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. Inc. for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards at a job site in Chicago. OSHA cited the company for willful violations for again failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins while installing water and sewer lines in November 2013. Proposed penalties total $147,000.

Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City, said the company has been cited multiple times for violations of trenching standards since 2003.

OSHA opened the inspection under the National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation, which was implemented in the 1980s. The company was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program in January 2014 when it was issued four violations for failing to adhere to trenching standards. The company has contested those violations, which carried penalties of $105,600.

OSHA issued two willful violations for failing to ensure workers were protected from cave-in hazards while working in a trench that exceeded 5 feet in depth and failing to support the street pavement above the trench from collapsing on the workers. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available.

One serious violation was issued after a competent person found evidence of potential cave-in hazards and failed to remove employees from the hazardous conditions.

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law and focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.

To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PanOceanicEngineeringcompany_950363_0521_14.pdf

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