OSHA has cited J&P Construction of Tuscaloosa, Ala., doing business as Jamison Construction, with safety violations for exposing its workers to cave-in hazards while installing storm drains along Highway 98 in Destin, Fla. Proposed penalties total $45,500.

According to an OSHA press release, the company has been issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $38,500 for failing to have an adequate cave-in protection system in place while trenching. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Jamison Construction also has received two serious citations with a proposed penalty of $7,000. One citation was issued for allowing employees to work in an 8-foot deep trench without proper training or experience to recognize hazards related to trenching. The other citation was issued for failing to have a ladder or another means of egress available. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"This employer knew there were trench boxes available at a nearby worksite, but chose not to use them and put the lives of its workers at risk," said James Borders, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville, Fla. "Disregarding the safety of workers is unacceptable and OSHA will not tolerate it."

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information about excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office, 1851 Executive Center Drive, Suite 227, Jacksonville, FL 32207; telephone 904-232-2895. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).