The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Lake City Management Group Inc., an underground utility construction company, for allegedly exposing workers to trenching hazards at a job site near Lake City, Florida. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $69,900.
“OSHA is committed to preventing workers from being trapped in trenches,” said James Borders, OSHA Jacksonville area director. “This employer was aware of safe trenching practices but chose not to implement them.” Borders added that company officials had attended OSHA training classes and had a designated competent person at the job site.
The Lake City-based company received two willful citations, with proposed penalties totaling $66,000, for failing to use a trench box or properly sloped or shored trench walls and for placing excavated material too near the edges of the trench.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Three serious citations, with proposed penalties of $3,900, alleged failure to properly train employees and for not providing adequate means for entering and exiting the trench. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
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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