US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Winter Garden, Fla., utility
contractor with second repeat violation, proposes $70,000 penalty
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Prince Contracting LLC for a second repeat safety violation with a $70,000 proposed penalty for allegedly endangering workers while digging a storm water trench adjacent to U.S. Highway 27 in Clermont.
In March, OSHA inspected the site as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. Three workers in the trench were installing pipe and compacting soil without a protective system in place, despite trench walls that were 7.5 feet deep on the west side and 11 feet deep on the east side of the trench. In discussing the situation with an on-site supervisor, the OSHA inspector found that the trench initially was less than 5 feet deep, but as work progressed uphill, the trench became deeper. A protective trench box had been at the site but removed the morning of the inspection. After the inspector identified the hazard, the trench box was returned to the site. OSHA requires a protective system in place when an excavation is more than 5 feet in depth.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Prince Contracting was cited for the same repeat violation in July 2010, which was based on a violation originally cited during an August 2009 inspection. Since 2008, the company has been inspected by OSHA five times, including this most recent inspection. Four of the five inspections resulted in citations related to OSHA's trenching standard for failing to provide an adequate protective system for workers.
"This company is gambling with its workers' lives by not installing protective systems when excavating deep trenches," said Les Grove, director of OSHA's area office in Tampa. "While it is fortunate that no one was seriously injured or killed at this site, we hope management sees this citation as a wake-up call that laxity in safety has consequences."
Detailed information on hazards and safeguards related to trenching and excavation is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The Winter Garden-based company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Tampa Area Office, located at 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A, Tampa, Fla. 33610; telephone 813-626-1177. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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 http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.