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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 06-1696-ATL (239)
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Contact: Jeff Romeo Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (904) 232 2895 (404) 562-2076

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA Cites Florida Construction Company After Fatality Investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Roads Inc. of NWF for alleged violations of safety and health standards following the investigation of a fatal accident April 19 in Pensacola, Fla. Proposed penalties total $142,150.

"Trenching remains one of the most hazardous jobs in the construction industry," said James. D. Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville, Fla., area director. "This tragic accident could have been avoided if the employer had followed Occupational Safety and Health Act requirements and regulations."

On the day of the accident, employees installing a new storm drainage system at the Maplewood subdivision detected a strong gas odor. Company officials, however, did not test the atmosphere or report the leak to the gas company. Later that morning, a company employee was instructed to enter the excavation to retrieve a laser surveying instrument from a sewer pipe. The worker was severely burned when an explosion and fire occurred shortly after he entered the pipe. Another worker, standing at the edge of the trench, was slightly burned as the flash fire exited the pipe. The severely burned employee died six days later.

OSHA issued two serious citations directly related to the accident with proposed penalties of $6,650 for failing to test the air when natural gas was known to be present and failing to train employees to recognize hazards associated with trenching and excavation work. Two additional serious citations with proposed penalties of $3,500 were issued for failing to provide workers with proper safety equipment. Serious citations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazards.

The company received three willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $132,000. The willful citations included: operating an excavator boom within 10 feet of an overhead power line, exposing workers to electrocution; allowing employees to work in a trench 7 to 15 feet deep without a protective system, such as a trench box or properly shored or sloped walls; and placing excavated materials too close to a trench edge. OSHA issues willful citations when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The Cantonment, Fla., company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office, 1851 Executive Center Drive, Suite 227, telephone (904) 232 2895.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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