OSHA began an inspection of the Auburn Road worksite on Jan. 20, after an inspector observed unprotected MAJ employees installing pipes in a trench approximately 7 feet deep. According to the inspector, a trench box, which would have protected the workers, stood 50 feet from the excavation. The roadway was undermined, and about 4 feet of excavated material was piled at the edge of the trench, which had begun to accumulate water.
The agency's national emphasis program on trenching and excavation allowed for an immediate inspection.
"Cave-ins happen quickly and without warning. This employer placed workers at significant risk by failing to take basic precautions against a trench collapse," said Les Grove, OSHA's Tampa area director.
OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $42,000 for failing to use a trench box or other means to protect workers from cave-ins. The company also received two serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $4,750 for allowing excavated soil to accumulate near the edge of the trench and allowing employees to work near an undermined roadway.