OSHA fines south Florida contractor for excavation violations following site death

ConDig (22-Oct-19).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a south Florida contractor $185,239 for exposing employees to excavation and confined spaces hazards after a fatality at a project in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

The agency said that engineering contractor Westwind Contracting Inc was cited for failing to protect employees working in an excavation; train employees on how to recognize hazards related to catch basins and permit-required confined spaces; and develop and implement a permit-required confined space program. 

OSHA also cited the company for exposing workers, who attempted to rescue their co-worker, to engulfment hazards.

It comes as an employee drowned after water and mud filled a catch basin in which they were working

“Employers have a legal responsibility to protect and train their employees on well-known confined space and excavation hazards to avoid tragedies such as this,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale area director Condell Eastmond.  

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 Commission.

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards.

Last week, OSHA fined two Florida roofing contractors a combined total of $83,348 for exposing employees to struck-by and fall hazards at a project in Greenacres, Florida.

OSHA had fined a Escatawpa, Mississippi-based contractor $161,771 for excavation and cave-in violations also last week.

Last month, OSHA fined Illinois-based masonry contractor Polo Masonry Builders $252,136 for exposing employees to fall and scaffolding hazards on a commercial building project in Chicago.

In August, OSHA fined a Florida-based roofing contractor $274,215  for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards at two Florida construction sites in Lutz and Palmetto.

The agency said that it cited Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction Inc. following inspections at both worksites that found employees improperly using fall protection while performing roofing activities. 

In July, OSHA fined a St Louis-based contractor $212,158 for exposing employees to trench engulfment hazards as they installed concrete storm water pipes on a project in St Louis, Missouri.

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