OSHA Cites Contractor in Fla. Accident

August 13, 2004

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited John Carlo Inc. for allegedly exposing workers to trenching hazards that led to the death of a worker at a Jacksonville job site. The agency is proposing $74,000 in penalties.

OSHA began an inspection March 31, after being notified that a worker had been seriously injured at the Anderson Street and Wesconnect Boulevard excavation site. The agency’s investigation found that a large chunk of clay or a clay-covered stump had fallen from the trench wall and struck the worker who died from his injuries a few weeks later on April 28.

According to the investigative report, the company had been using two stacked eight-feet-high trench boxes in the over-14-foot-deep trench until they came upon gas lines crossing through the excavation. The top box was removed, leaving the vertical trench walls above the remaining box without proper sloping or shoring.

“This tragic accident could have been prevented if the company had consistently followed safety standards that are designed to protect workers from trenching hazards,” James Borders, OSHA’s Jacksonville area director, said.

OSHA issued one alleged willful citation to Michigan-based John Carlo Inc. with a maximum $70,000 proposed penalty, for failing to properly shore or slope the wall above the trench box. OSHA issues a willful citation when a company has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The company also received two alleged serious citations, with proposed penalties of $4,000, for failing to properly store concrete pipes so they could not roll and strike employees; and for lack of machinery safety guards.

The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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