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OSHA FINES FLORIDA UTILITY CONTRACTOR $77,000 FOLLOWING DOUBLE FATALITY AT SANFORD JOB SITE
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Scarborough Civil Corp., and proposed penalties totaling $77,000 for willful and serious safety violations found at a Sanford, Fla., excavation site.
According to Lawrence Falck, OSHA's Tampa area director, on July 25, four employees of the company were in a trench, digging around a section of pipe preparing to install another section, when a wall of the excavation collapsed on three of them. Two workers died.
"This tragic accident could have, should have, been prevented," Falck said. "Prevention is key to saving lives. Daily inspection of the work area, properly shoring and/or sloping trench walls, and using trench boxes are industry recognized safe practices that meet OSHA standards."
According to Falck, other contractors at the job site warned Scarborough officials about the unsafe conditions, but company management did nothing to protect the workers.
OSHA cited the company for one willful violation and proposed a $70,000 penalty for failing to protect workers from cave-ins. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
The company was also cited for one serious violation with a proposed penalty of $7,000 for failing to have a competent person inspect the excavation daily. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
To help employers reduce accidents at construction sites, OSHA instituted CARE, Construction Accident Reduction Emphasis. This program includes an extensive outreach program in Florida and a strong enforcement effort. One result of the initiative is that the agency, contractors, unions and other interested parties formed partnerships across the state to raise awareness of the heavy costs in human suffering and financial resources when safety precautions are ignored. Details about CARE can be obtained from OSHA's Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville area offices, or the regional office in Atlanta.
Winter Haven-based Scarborough Civil Corp., has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's Tampa area office located at 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A, Tampa, Fla., 33610-4249; telephone: (813) 626-1177.
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