Florida Contractor Fined $271,606 in Trench Collapse

The investigation was part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation, and Jax Utilities Management Inc. has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA last week cited Jax Utilities Management Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla., utilities contractor, for exposing employees to trenching hazards and issued $271,606 in proposed penalties.

OSHA opened an investigation after an employee was injured and hospitalized when an unprotected trench collapsed. The agency has issued willful citations for exposing employees to struck-by and caught-in hazards and allowing employees to work without cave-in protection, as well as a serious citation for allowing water to accumulate in the trench, which contributed to the collapse.

The investigation was part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation, and Jax Utilities Management Inc. has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Trenching and excavation hazards are preventable," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office director. "This employer knowingly exposed employees to dangerous and potentially fatal hazards, and this injury could have been avoided if the employer had used required protective systems."

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