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Archbold Not Liable In OSHA Case Against Storm Sewer Contractor




The village of Archbold, and Archbold taxpayers, are not liable for any part of a fine the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has imposed in connection with last summer’s Lafayette Street storm sewer project.

Bob Seaman, village engineer, said the contractor, Anderzack Pitzen, Metamora, is responsible for methods and techniques used on the construction project.

“We are not involved or liable,” he said.

Inspection

Jule Hovi, area director for OSHA’s Toledo office, said the company was cited for two groups of violations of OSHA’s trenching and excavating standards.

“The citation alleges the employer did not protect the employees from a potential cavein,” of the trench that was being dug, she said.

She said OSHA began an inspection of the construction site in the middle of June. Inspectors observed hazards and began their investigation.

The citation alleges that on May 30, June 2, 9, 16, 17, and 18, “the employers (Anderzack- Pitzen) did not ensure employees were protected from being potentially struck by a trench shield due to improper use.

The citation alleges, “The employer did not ensure employees were protected from being potentially struck by the trench shield while conducting work in a trench with an eight foot by 24 foot trench shield suspended approximately 11 feet above the base of the excavation, on an earthen ledge approximately eight inches wide.”

The second part of the citation alleges that on May 30, June 2, 9, and 16, “the employer did not ensure employees were protected from cave-in hazards.”

The citation alleges Anderzack Pitzen “did not ensure that employees were adequately protected from cave-ins while working in an unprotected excavation approximately 19 feet deep, with visible sloughing and collapses.

“The employer utilized one trench shield where two shields were needed while installing the concrete storm sewer.”

The citations note that both problems were corrected by Anderzack Pitzen during the inspection process.

Hovi said OSHA issued the citation on Nov. 19.

Like A Ticket

Hovi said receiving an OSHA citation “is like getting a speeding ticket.”

If a contractor is found doing something wrong, they are issued a citation with a penalty attached. The severity of the penalty varies with the potential for injury.

In the case of the alleged Anderzack Pitzen violations, the results could have been fatal, resulting in a stiffer penalty.

OSHA has imposed a $56,000 fine against th company.

Hovi said there is a due process system open to the company.

Anderzack-Pitzen company officials have a choice of either entering into an informal settlement agreement with OSHA, or filing a notice stating the wish to contest the charge.

The company has not informed OSHA of what it plans to do; it has until Monday, Dec. 15, to make a decision, she said.

This newspaper could not reach company officials for comment on Tuesday.

Company Response

Pam Pitzen, manager of Anderzack Pitzen, said the company is in the process of appealing the OSHA citations.

She said the OSHA citations deal only with alleged violations.

“We do have an extensive, ongoing training program. Safety is our numer one priority,” she said.

The Project

Anderzack-Pitzen was the winning bidder for the storm sewer project. Several other firms placed bids to do the work.

The bid price was $686,835, about 31% below the $1 million estimated by the village engineer office.

In the project, 78-inch and 66-inch pieces of concrete storm sewer pipeline were installed from the west side of the Archbold Evangelical Church property, south under Short-Buehrer Rd., to a creek just south of the roadway.


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