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OSHA News Release
Region 4

June 20, 2018 

U.S. Department of Labor Cites South Florida Utility Contractor
for Exposing Employees to Trenching Hazards

NAPLES, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Douglas N. Higgins Inc., a South Florida utility contractor, for exposing employees to cave-in and other hazards at a Naples worksite. The company faces $18,659 in proposed penalties.

OSHA inspected the worksite as part of the Agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA inspectors cited Higgins for allowing employees to work in a trench without cave-in protection, and for failing to maintain a safety and health program on excavation hazards. OSHA cited the contractor for violations in January 2017 when three employees succumbed to toxic gases while working in a manhole, and again in May 2018 after a steel plate fell on and fatally injured an employee.

“Despite being recently cited for violations that contributed to four worker fatalities, this employer continues to disregard well-known safety and health requirements,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director. “Employers involved in excavation work must follow safety procedures to ensure that workers are properly protected from a trench collapse and other trench hazards.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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:

Michael D’Aquino, 678-237-0630,
Eric Lucero, 678-237-0630,

Release Number:  18-964-ATL (130)

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