Department of Labor Logo OSHA Regional News Brief - Region 4

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.


April 19, 2016


OSHA cites general and subcontractor in Florida for exposing workers
to dangers of trench cave-ins; proposes more than $114K in fines

Employer's names: Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., and Stevens and Layton Inc.

Inspection site: Intersection of Midway Blvd. and Edgewater Drive, Port Charlotte, Florida 33952

Citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Owen-Ames-Kimball for two serious safety violations, and Stevens and Layton received citations for two willful and two serious safety violations. Kimball is a general contracting company that subcontracted Layton for utility line installation. The agency initiated the inspection on Oct. 21, 2015, after receiving a report of workers in a trench without protection.

Investigation findings: OSHA issued Kimball serious citations for not using sloping or bracing to prevent soil from collapsing into the excavation and placing the soil, removed from the trench, too close to the opening. The agency requires that all trenches and excavation sites 5-feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses. Shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at an acceptable angle or a protective trench box are the best safeguards for workers in excavations.

The agency issued Layton willful citations for not using sloping or bracing to prevent soil from collapsing into the excavation and placing the soil, removed from the trench, too close to the opening. The serious citations relate to the employer not providing workers information and training to recognize and avoid cave-in hazards and not providing a safe means to enter and exit the excavation.

OSHA has created a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation to combat the deadly hazards of trench collapses.

Quote: "OSHA is concerned about the nonchalant attitude toward worker safety Stevens and Layton displayed. There is no such thing as 'safe enough' when it comes to not meeting federal safety standards," said Les Grove, OSHA's area director in Tampa. "This is an irresponsible and illegal approach toward workplace safety that puts workers at risk of serious injury or death."

Background: Stevens and Layton was previously cited in 2005 for excavation violations. Since 2006, Owen-Ames-Kimball has been inspected 67 times in Michigan and has received 36 citations.

Proposed penalties: $107,400

The citations can be viewed at:

Steven and Layton is based in Fort Meyers, Florida. Owen-Ames-Kimball is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has offices in Punta Gorda, Fort Myers and Naples, Florida. The companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Tampa Area Office at 813-626-1177.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

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Media Contacts:

Lindsay Williams, 678-237-0630,
Michael D'Aquino, 678-237-0630, d'

Release Number: 16-766-ATL (103)

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