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OSHA fines NW Side engineering company for second time in 2014

A Northwest Side engineering company has been cited for the second time this year for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards.

Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. at 8501 W. Higgins Rd. has been cited for two “willful violations” for failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins while installing water and sewer lines at a job site at East 93rd Street and South Woodlawn Avenue in November 2013, according to a statement from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The proposed penalties for the violations total $147,000, according to the statement.

In January, the company was placed in the Severe Violator Program after it was issued four violations after an employee was witnessed working in an unprotected trench more than 8 feet deep, according to the statement.

The company has contested those violations, which carried penalties of $105,600, according to the statement.

“It is completely unacceptable that Pan-Oceanic Engineering continues to put workers at such great risk,” Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City, said in the statement.

Webb added that the company has been cited multiple times for violation of trenching standards since 2003.