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April 26, 2024
Guam contractor faces $1 million OSHA fine

Guam contractor Giant Construction Corp. faces $1,038,918 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines for trenching violations.

Federal inspectors found employees working in trenches deeper than 5 feet without required safety equipment. Giant Construction, a Tamuning contractor, was installing sewer lines in multiple trenches at a worksite in the Palisades Subdivision Project in Tiyan.

OSHA cited the employer with nine willful violations for multiple failures to protect employees working in trenches, as well as two serious violations for not providing adequate means to exit trenches.

Trench collapses are among the construction industry’s most serious dangers, according to OSHA. Excavations can collapse in seconds, leading to serious, often fatal injuries. Workers may get buried under cubic yards of soil, each weighing as much as 3,000 pounds (lb).

“Giant Construction Corp. has shown a flagrant disregard for the safety of its employees and put workers at risk of serious and potentially fatal injuries,” Roger Forstner, OSHA’s Honolulu area office director, said in an agency statement.

“The company’s owner admits they understand the dangers but still chooses to put profit before people. The significant penalties assessed after this inspection send a clear signal to Giant Construction Corp. and other employers that OSHA will not tolerate such callous attitudes when employees are endangered,” he continued.

OSHA has performed five other inspections of Giant Construction since 2014, citing the employer for nine violations, including two serious violations and one repeat violation in October 2022. Past violations have included failures to protect employees from trench hazards.

OSHA has an ongoing National Emphasis Program (NEP) addressing trenching and excavation hazards. Agency compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) may make “self-referrals,” stopping at and inspecting any excavation site they encounter during their daily duties. The agency unveiled plans in 2022 for 1,000 inspections of excavation sites in response to an uptick in trenching and excavation fatalities.

OSHA cites Hanover Foods for process safety hazards

Food manufacturer Hanover Foods Corp. faces $761,876 in OSHA penalties after the agency cited the employer with 70 violations, including 9 repeat, 51 serious, and 11 other-than-serious violations.

OSHA opened an investigation at the company’s Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, plant in response to a complaint alleging hazards involving the company’s handling of highly hazardous chemicals.

Violations included process safety management failures, such as a lack of training; equipment deficiencies not being corrected; failure to document that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; and failure to establish an emergency plan for the entire plant.

OSHA previously cited the company for similar violations at its Clayton, Delaware, facility in 2019 and 2021.

Earlier this year, the agency cited Aunt Kitty’s Food, a Vineland, New Jersey, subsidiary of Hanover Foods, for lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and occupational noise violations. OSHA proposed fines of $463,224 for one willful, two repeat, and four serious violations at the facility.

“Hanover Foods Corp. put its employees at risk of serious safety and health hazards by not complying with federal and industry-recognized safety standards at another of its facilities,” Kevin T. Chambers, OSHA’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, area office director, said in a statement.

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