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Penalties Sought By OSHA For Cave-In Risks, Other Violations

Federal authorities are seeking $112,000 in penalties from a Florida contractor accused of willfully exposing employees to cave-in hazards during work on a storm water project in Lake Mary near Orlando.

The citations against Cathcart Contracting Co. of  Winter Springs, Fla., were announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency said the company had rented safety equipment to protect employees who were working in a trench up to seven feet deep, but then returned the equipment to save money.  The company was charged with violating standards requiring that trenches and excavations at least five feet deep be safeguarded to prevent collapse.

OSHA also announced proposed fines of $228,320 for a Mississippi-based picture frame manufacturer cited for 34 safety and health violations. Two of the citations charged Art Horizons., Inc., of Batesville with willful violations: for allegedly failing to keep work areas clear of combustible dust, and failing to protect workers exposed to excessive noise.

OSHA had previously inspected the firm in 2008 when it operated under a different name, and an official said Friday the “sizable fines stem from this company’s failure to correct specific hazards.”

Separately, OSHA proposed fines of $124,000 for Porta-King Building Systems of Montgomery City., Mo., citing several safety violations, including failure to guard against exposure to spray paint fumes.

OSHA is also seeking fines of more than $60,000 from Mississippi-based Lexington Homes, saying the company violated several safety standards, including failing to conduct regular crane inspections.

The companies have 15 days to appeal the cases to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.