A South Florida utility company has been cited for multiple violations, after an employee was killed by a steel plate that fell on him as he installed sewer lines at a Naples Park worksite.

Douglas N. Higgins Inc. was cited by OSHA for permitting employees to work in a trench without adequate cave-in protection; failing to provide safe entry and exit from a trench, perform atmospheric testing, and train employees on signals used when moving trench boxes; and allowing employees to use defective equipment to hoist a compactor. The agency cited the company for a similar violation in January 2017 after three employees succumbed to toxic gases while working in a manhole.

The company faces $162,596 in proposed penalties, the maximum allowed.

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure a working environment free from recognized hazards,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director. “This company’s continued failure to protect and train their employees on well-known hazards resulted in another preventable tragedy.”