Fla. Contractor Fined Following Fatal Trenching Accident

June 9, 2000
OSHA cited J.B. Coxwell Contracting Inc. and proposed penalties\r\ntotaling $112,050 following a fatal accident that occurred at a\r\nJacksonville, Fla., construction site.

OSHA cited J.B. Coxwell Contracting Inc. and proposed penalties totaling $112,050 following a fatal accident that occurred at a Jacksonville, Fla., construction site.

According to James Borders, OSHA''s Jacksonville area director, the accident occurred Dec. 22, 1999, at a road widening and storm drainage project.

At the time of the accident, the victim was working in a 9 foot deep trench. When rigging used to lower a 5 ton pipe into the excavation failed, the worker was hit and killed as the pipe rolled toward him in the trench.

Struck by is one of the four hazards addressed in Florida''s Construction Accident Reduction Emphasis (CARE) program. CARE was initiated in 1999 to reduce the number of construction fatalities in Florida.

Last year, 54 construction workers lost their lives in Florida from on-the-job accidents.

OSHA''s inspection of the fatality resulted in citations for three serious violations, including two that dealt with the failed rigging -- overloading the wire rope choker sling and not inspecting the threads of the load hook used to lift 5 ton pipes.

The company was also cited for violating OSHA''s trenching standards. These included not keeping the spoil pile back from the edge of the 9 foot deep excavation and not protecting employees working in the trench from cave-in hazards by properly sloping the trench walls or using trench boxes.

"Company managers had first-hand knowledge of the dangerous working conditions at the Jacksonville site," said Borders. "Trench walls were not properly sloped and even though trench boxes were available, management made a decision not to use them. Additionally, a spoil pile was close enough to the edge of the trench to compromise the stability of the trench wall."

J.B. Coxwell, which was recently acquired by APAC Inc., employs more than 300 workers, 50 of whom were working on the drainage project at the time of the fatal accident.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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