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In over his head

Trenching dangers in Florida draw OSHA fines

October 25, 2011
KEYWORDS hazards / trench / violation
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An OSHA poster warns of trench dangers
 OSHA trench danger poster

A South Florida contracting company apparently didn't learn its lesson the first time around, in 2010, when it was cited by OSHA for having an employee work in a 10-

foot-deep trench at a Miami site with no cave-in protection. American Engineering and Development Corp. was just hit with a $34,650 repeat violation fine for the same violation -- albeit at a different site in Miami. The company was also cited for five serious violations, all trench related:

  • allowing an employee to work in a trench where water had accumulated
  • permitting an employee to work in a trench while heavy equipment was used to dig at the edge of the trench
  • exposing the worker to dangers of the equipment falling or rolling into the trench
  • failing to remove workers from the trench when hazardous conditions existed
  • using a ladder at the site that extended less than 3 feet above the edge of the trench, and
  • not adequately training employees to recognize the hazards related to the ladder.

Proposed fines total $69,300.

"Excavation cave-ins cause serious and often fatal injuries, and OSHA will not allow employers to take chances with workers' lives," said Darlene Fossum, director of OSHA's area office in Fort Lauderdale.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

American Engineering and Development Corp. is based in Hialeah Gardens.

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