Tom's Backhoe of Brainerd was cited for two serious violations from an Occupational Safety and Health Division inspection in July in southwest Brainerd.
The inspection cited employee safety while working in a trench on the city of Brainerd's road project at Cora and Eighth streets in Brainerd, according to a Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Occupational Safety and Health Division report, which was recently completed.
One citation was for employees who were not protected by protective helmets working where there was a possibility of danger of head injuries. The report stated "appropriate personal protective equipment was not worn by employees in all operations where there was exposure to hazardous conditions, specifically for the employee working in the trench on this job site."
The penalty was $225.
The second citation for a serious violation came as "each employee in an excavation was not protected from cave-ins" by sloping at an angle or an adequate protective system. The penalty was $450.
Both violations were corrected during the July 23 inspection. Tom's Backhoe has the right to contest the citation.
Today Tom Thompson, owner of Tom's Backhoe, said in the first citation an employee was issued a helmet and instructed to wear it, but did not have it on. Thompson said employees are liable to wear the provided safety gear at the work site.
In the second violation with the trench, Thompson said the hole was 7 1/2 feet deep and 15 feet wide. But he said OSHA standards call for the trench to be another 7 1/2 feet wider in that instance.
"I don't agree with them, but I'm not going to argue with them about it," Thompson said. "It's like fighting city hall and you're not going to win. I don't foresee right now that I'm going to contest their ruling."
There are five types of violations that may be cited by MNOSHA -- nonserious, serious, willful, repeat or failure to abate. Maximum penalties in the nonserious and serious categories are $7,000.
Citations for willful or repeat violations have a maximum penalty of $70,000. A penalty for a violation may be credited by as much as 95 percent, depending on the employer's good faith, size of business and previous history.
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