John Carlo Inc., a Naples, Fla., construction contractor, has been fined $155,000 by OSHA for two alleged willful and three alleged serious violations uncovered during an inspection of a company construction site.

The two willful violations, which carried $140,000 in proposed penalties, were for failing to provide cave-in protection to employees working inside an excavation that contained unstable soil, and allowing excess soil to be placed too close to the edge of the trench wall.

Three serious violations, which totaled $15,000 in proposed penalties, were issued to address deficiencies in the employer's training program, employee exposure to hazards from ductile iron pipe being lifted overhead, and employees using a ladder that was too short on an unstable surface.

"Having employees work unprotected in a deep trench with unstable soil is a recipe for disaster," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Being behind schedule is no excuse for gambling with employees' safety."

The company has 15 business days to contest the citations.