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Region 4 News Release: 09-193-ATL (055)
March 9, 2009
Contact: Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2078

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites contractor for willful and serious safety violations following Tallahassee, Fla., area trench fatality

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tim's Hauling and Tractor Service Inc. for safety violations following a trench collapse that resulted in a fatality last October at a worksite in the Tallahassee area.

The Havana, Fla., company is being cited for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $49,000 for allowing two employees to continue working in an 8-foot-deep trench after removing a protective trench box. After the box was removed, one worker was crushed when a sidewall of the trench collapsed. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The company is also being cited with two serious safety violations and $2,250 in proposed penalties for not placing a ladder used for access to and egress from the trench at least three feet above the edge of the trench, and for failing to adequately train employees to recognize and avoid excavation and trenching hazards. 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.

"Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations, but they can be performed in a safe manner when the proper safety equipment, such as trench boxes, is used consistently," said James Borders, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville, Fla.

OSHA has proposed $51,250 in penalties against the company, which has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Jacksonville, or conte