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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [09/20/2012]
Contact Name: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 12-1844-CHI

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Mastec North America in Hugo, Minn., for exposing workers to trenching hazards

MUSKEGO, Wis. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Mastec North America Inc. with two —including one willful — safety violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing a conduit pipe for underground utilities in an unprotected trench in Muskego. The March inspection was conducted under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavations. Proposed penalties total $108,500.

"Mastec North America has a responsibility to ensure that workers are properly protected from known workplace hazards such as trench cave-ins, a leading cause of death and injury in excavation work," said George Yoksas, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to so."

The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection for workers in an unprotected trench that was more than 8 feet deep and approximately 180 feet long. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

A repeat citation has been issued for failing to provide egress from an open excavation. 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. Mastec North America previously was cited for the same violation at worksites in Colorado Springs, Colo., in March 2009, and San Antonio, Texas, in November 2010.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Due to the willful violation, OSHA has placed Mastec North America in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates 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. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Mastec_North_America_280827_0913_2012.pdf.

Mastec North America, headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla., with a divisional office in Hugo, Minn., performs trenching and excavation work nationwide. The company 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. This inspection was OSHA's fourth of the company's facilities.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Milwaukee Area Office at 414-297-3315. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.