South Florida Utility Firm Fined after Fatality

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 @ 10:05 AM gHale

South Florida utility company, Douglas N. Higgins Inc., is facing $162,596 in fines after an employee suffered fatal injuries at a Naples Park worksite, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The employee suffered the fatal injuries when a steel plate fell on him as he installed sewer lines.

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OSHA cited the company for two willful, one serious, one repeat and one other than serious violations.

Investigators issued citations for permitting employees to work in a trench without adequate cave-in protection; failing to provide safe entry and exit from a trench, perform atmospheric testing, and train employees on signals used when moving trench boxes; and allowing employees to use defective equipment to hoist a compactor.

OSHA cited the company for a similar violation in January 2017 after three employees succumbed to toxic gases while working in a manhole.

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure a working environment free from recognized hazards,” said Condell Eastman, OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director. “This company’s continued failure to protect and train their employees on well-known hazards resulted in another preventable tragedy.”

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