Utility Contractor Fined for Trenching, ExcavationViolations

OSHA cited Heuer Utility Contractors Inc. and proposed penalties\r\ntotaling $149,500 for safety violations found at a trenching and\r\nexcavation job in Englewood, Fla.

OSHA cited Heuer Utility Contractors Inc. and proposed penalties totaling $149,500 for safety violations found at a trenching and excavation job in Englewood, Fla.

"This company chose to disregard the danger to workers in the name of expediency," said Lawrence Falck, OSHA''s Tampa area director. "Company officials decided to shortcut safety when they saw a storm approaching. Too many workers are trapped or killed when management makes that kind of decision."

Following a June 27 inspection, OSHA cited the company for two willful violations with proposed penalties totaling $125,000 for not:

shoring and sloping trench walls, and providing safe means for workers to enter and exit the trench;

providing proper protection while employees worked in the trench.

According to Falck, management officials had been warned by another contractor on the job not to allow workers in the trench.

Additionally, OSHA cited Heuer previously for similar violations and the company''s own safety manual addresses excavation hazard prevention methods.

Falck said the inspection was conducted as part of the agency''s national emphasis programs for trenching and excavation and energized overhead power lines.

The agency initiated the programs because too many workers were being injured and killed under circumstances similar to those found at this job site.

Largo, Fla.,-based Heuer Utility Contractors Inc., which employs about 50 workers and had five at the Englewood job site, has 15 working days to contest OSHA''s citations and proposed penalties.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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