OSHA cites, fines construction company

An Urbana construction company has been cited for safety violations at a Danville job site and is facing a $75,460 fine.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Cross Construction Inc. last week for three safety violations, including two repeat ones, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations that involved installing sewer pipes and manholes at a work site at the corner of Iowa and Main streets in Danville.

OSHA officials said there were no injuries as a result of the violations.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the company on May 1 after receiving a complaint alleging cave-in hazards.

"Cave-ins are the leading cause of injury and death in excavation," Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria, said in a release. "Repeat violations of a well-known safety hazard in the trenching industry demonstrates a disregard for workers' safety by Cross Construction."

Company officials did not respond to a request for an interview.

According to OSHA standards, all excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse.

Cross Construction received a willful violation for failing to provide cave-in protection to workers in a trench greater than seven feet deep. According to the citation, an employee was working in a trench at a depth up to 7 feet 10 inches during the time of the inspection.

A willful violation is one committed with "intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement or with plain indifference to worker safety and health."

The construction company received one repeat violation for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress such as a stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress within 25 feet of employees during trenching and excavation work. It received another repeat violation for failing to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site, adjacent areas and protective systems to identify hazards and make corrections.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Officials said the company was previously cited for the same violations at a job site at U.S. 150 and North Baker Road in Mahomet in December 2012.

OSHA has placed Cross in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which requires targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program 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 if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Officials said Cross Construction received the citations by mail on Monday. The company now has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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787 wrote on September 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm

And how many projects has the Illinois Department of Transportation awarded to Cross Construction.... despite Cross being tagged as a recalcitrant employer that endangers workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations?