FL Contractor Cited for Exposing Workers to Trenching Hazards

OSHA) has cited Cathcart Construction Company-Florida LLC for exposing employees to excavation hazards at worksites in Orlando and Winter Garden, Florida.

The general contractor faces $303,611 in penalties.

OSHA cited the Oviedo, Florida-based contractor for exposing employees to cave-in and engulfment hazards by allowing them to work in unprotected excavations that also lacked safe means for employees to enter and exit the excavation.

Other violations include:

  • Using a trench shield with missing components;
  • Not ensuring employees used personal protective equipment;
  • Failing to perform testing to identify hazardous atmospheres and post traffic control signs; and
  • Not training flaggers.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Loren Sweatt, said, “A trench collapse can happen in seconds and is preventable. Employers are legally obligated to ensure adequate protections are in place to prevent serious or fatal injuries.”

Trench fatalities are a serious problem in construction. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that about 25 workers are killed each year in trench-related mishaps. Cave-ins cause about three out of every four fatalities; the remainder are commonly due to struck-bys or electrocutions

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, including a trenching operations QuickCard and a “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster.