Ric-Man International Cited for Willful Violation in Worker Fatality

The company was previously cited for cave-in and trenching hazards, according to OSHA.

After the death of a 45-year-old, untrained diver, Ric-Man International Inc. was cited for 19 safety violations, including one classified as willful, by OSHA, the agency announced. The employee died while completing surface-supplied air diving during underwater construction activities for the City of Weston, Florida, on June 10, 2014.

"Ric-Man International exposed employees to serious safety hazards when feasible methods existed to protect employees from cave-in and drowning hazards," said Condell Eastmond, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "The company must take the necessary precautions to prevent employees from exposure to these hazards."

OSHA issued a citation for a willful violation to Ric-Man International for failure to provide cave-in protection for employees working inside an excavation approximately 12 feet deep. OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavation sites 5 feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses. Protection may be provided through shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at a shallow angle, or by using a protective trench box. OSHA had cited the company four times previously for lack of cave-in protection and excavation hazards.

Thirteen serious violations were issued to Ric-Man International for failure to ensure workers who performed diving operations were experienced and trained to perform underwater tasks safely; provide divers with a backup air supply, safety harness, and two-way voice communication for emergencies; and to plan and assess risks associated with diving, including underwater conditions, obstructions, and visibility. OSHA reported the company also failed to provide dive team members with CPR training.

Proposed penalties total $161,000.

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