Florida Utility Contractor Faces Nearly $19K in Fines for Safety Hazards

June 25, 2018

South Florida utility contractor Douglas N. Higgins is facing $18,659 in proposed penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the contractor for exposing employees to cave-in and other hazards at a Naples, Fla., worksite.

OSHA inspected the worksite as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA inspectors cited Higgins for allowing employees to work in a trench without cave-in protection and for failing to maintain a safety and health program on excavation hazards.

In January 2017, OSHA had previously cited the contractor for violations when three employees succumbed to toxic gases while working in a manhole. It cited the contractor again in May 2018 after a steel plate fell on and fatally injured an employee.

“Despite being recently cited for violations that contributed to four worker fatalities, this employer continues to disregard well-known safety and health requirements,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA Fort Lauderdale area office director, in a U.S. Department of Labor press release. “Employers involved in excavation work must follow safety procedures to ensure that workers are properly protected from a trench collapse and other trench hazards.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

Source: United States Department of Labor

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