The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited PTS Contractors Inc., a Green Bay, Wis.-based excavation contractor, for four repeat and two serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $70,070. OSHA began its inspection Aug. 28 in response to a complaint alleging cave-in hazards at a job site in Wautoma, Wis., where workers were installing storm manholes and connecting utilities in a trench approximately 8-ft-deep.
OSHA cited four repeat violations for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work; failing to keep excavated material away from the edge of the trench; not using protective systems, such as harnesses, properly; and not having a competent person remove workers from a trench when identifying hazards. Similar violations were cited in 2009 and 2010.
Two serious violations were cited for failing to provide a safe and acceptable means to locate underground utilities, which resulted in a gas line being struck and damaged by excavating equipment, and failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards.
OSHA has placed PTS Contractors in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. PTS Contractors has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.