Contractor Cited After Worker Drowns in Confined Space

Source: Sanchai Khudpin - 123RF

Pembroke Pines, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Westwind Contracting Inc. for exposing employees to excavation and confined spaces hazards after a fatality at a Pembroke Pines, Florida, worksite. The contractor faces $185,239 in penalties.

The employee drowned after water and mud filled a catch basin in which the employee was working.

OSHA cited the engineering company for failing to protect employees working in an excavation.

Other violations include:

Failing to train employees on how to recognize hazards related to catch basins and permit-required confined spaces, and developing and implementing a permit-required confined space program.

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

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses.

OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions. The webpage includes a trenching operations QuickCard that provides information on protecting employees before they enter a trench, and the “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster reminding employers to slope, shore, or shield trenches to prevent collapses.