The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it has cited Cathcart Construction Company-Florida LLC for exposing employees to excavation hazards at worksites in Orlando and Winter Garden. The general contractor faces $303,611 in penalties.
OSHA cited the Oviedo, Florida-based contractor for exposing employees to cave-in and engulfment hazards by allowing them to work in unprotected excavations that also lacked safe means for employees to enter and exit the excavation. Other violations include using a trench shield with missing components, not ensuring employees used personal protective equipment, failing to perform testing to identify hazardous atmospheres and post traffic control signs, and not training flaggers, the agency said in a news release.
“A trench collapse can happen in seconds and is preventable. Employers are legally obligated to ensure adequate protections are in place to prevent serious or fatal injuries,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.
OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses. OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions, including a trenching operations QuickCard and a “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.