Following an injury at a Gainesville excavation site, the United States Department of

Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration audited the area. The auditors

uncovered one willful and two serious safety violations which were cited against R.E.

Arnold Construction, Inc., and four serious safety violations which were cited against

the subcontractor, Suntree Technologies Inc. These citations carried fines of $83,000 and

$18,200, respectively.

“These employers deliberately chose not to follow established OSHA standards for

protecting workers in excavations and repeatedly ignored warnings-including one on

the day of the incident-that the trench was unsafe,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area

director in Jacksonville. “This shortcut led to a worker seriously injured and nearly


The citations against R.E. Arnold were as follows: a willful citation for failing to provide

employees working in a 15-foot-deep excavation with required protection from wall

collapse hazards, and two serious citations for exposing workers to dangerous safety and

fall hazards by failing to provide them with hard hats and fall protection equipment.

The citations against Suntree Technologies were for fall protection errors. They failed

to provide fall protection for employees working at heights above six feet. Additionally,

management did not ensure workers were wearing hard hats while inside the excavation,

exposing them to hazards from falling debris.

If you own a business in the construction industry, don’t think it can’t happen to you.

You need to be sure you have properly documented safety and health standards in

place as well as well maintained personal protective equipment made available for your

employees. If you have any questions about your current standards, it might be a good

time for a third party safety audit from a qualified third party safety auditing firm.

If you have any specific questions about your safety procedures or about how third

party safety audits work, please contact us. If you have anything else to add about the

importance of third party safety audits or about these citations, please leave a comment.