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Florida contractor gets safety citations for cave-in hazards

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Federal regulators have cited and proposed $53,900 in penalties against a Florida general contractor for exposing workers to cave-in hazards during excavation activities.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Jacksonville, Florida-based Vallencourt Inc. for one willful violation for allowing employees to work in a 7-foot-deep excavation without cave-in protection, while installing new water and sewer lines, according to an agency news release issued Thursday. OSHA requires that all trenches and excavation sites 5 feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses, according to the release.

The company was also cited for one serious safety violation for failing to provide proper lifting equipment, according to OSHA.

“An unprotected trench or excavation can collapse suddenly without any warning, resulting in serious or fatal injuries,” Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville, said in a statement. “There is no justification for an employer to risk worker safety when they know the dangers they are exposing their workers to, but choose to ignore them.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.