Cave-in Hazards Lead to $112,000 Fine for Florida Contractor

OSHA has cited Cathcart Contracting Co. for exposing its workers to cave-in hazards while installing a storm water junction box at its Lake Mary worksite. Penalties total $112,000.

The company is being cited with one willful violation for failing to keep excavated and other material at least 2 feet from the edge of a trench. A second willful citation has been issued to the company for failing to provide a system, such as a trench box, to prevent cave-ins. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

"This employer had been renting a trench box designed to protect workers from cave-ins but returned it to cut down on costs," said Les Grove, OSHA's area director in Tampa, Fla. “Risking the safety of your workers is not an acceptable business decision."

The trench was up to 7 feet deep in places.

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be safeguarded to prevent collapse. Detailed information about excavation hazards and safeguards is available by visiting http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company, headquartered in Winter Springs, Fla., has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal meeting or indicate that it plans to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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