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Fla. Contractor Fined Following Fatal Trenching Accident

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

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