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Region 4 News Release   ATL: 03-72
Mon., April 14, 2003
Contact: Luis Santiago       Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (954) 424-0242     (404)562-2076


Contractor Cited for Exposing Workers to Confined Space Hazards
Two Employees Died at Miami Beach Job Site

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Electrical Technologies Corporation for exposing employees to safety hazards at a Miami Beach job site where two workers died after entering a manhole and being exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas. The agency issued four citations with proposed penalties totaling $62,000.

On Oct. 10, four Electrical Technologies employees were working at 18th Street and Bay Road in a 12-foot-deep trench, installing piping that would house electrical cables. The work included connecting the piping to an adjacent manhole. When water began seeping into the trench, a pump was placed in the manhole, but the hose became clogged. One of the crewmembers entered the manhole to unclog the hose. He was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas and fell into the water. A second worker, attempting to rescue him, was also overcome. A third man started to enter the manhole but became dizzy and climbed out. The two workers were pronounced dead from drowning by the fire department rescue team.

"The standard practice of checking the atmosphere before allowing employees to enter a confined space would have avoided this tragic accident," said Luis Santiago, OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale area director.

OSHA issued one willful citation to the Medley-based company with a proposed penalty of $56,000 for exposing workers to confined space hazards. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The agency also issued three serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $6,000 for failing to: protect employees from cave-in hazards; provide warning vests for employees working near traffic areas; and, properly position a portable ladder so that the side rails were three feet above the landing area.

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

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale area office located at Jacaranda Executive Court, 8040 Peters Rd., Bldg. H-100; phone (954) 424-0242.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries, and protection America's worker. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit the OSHA web site at www.osha.gov.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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