MIDDLEBURG, FL – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation into a roof collapse that caused a 43-year-old laborer’s fatal injuries at a Middleburg work site on Dec. 13, 2021, found the employer failed to follow required safety standards that might have prevented the incident.

The employee of SB Outdoor Services LLC – operating as SBA Lawncare – was assigned to knock down a 400-square-foot shed at the site. While knocking down the structural walls, the shed’s walls collapsed outward, causing the roof structure to fall onto the worker. The worker ultimately suffocated under the roof’s weight.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection and issued citations to Orange Park’s SB Outdoor Services and Aquaglobal Corp. – a Jacksonville company that subcontracted the backyard cleanup – for failing to have a qualified engineer perform a survey to evaluate the storage shed’s stability before the tear-down began. OSHA also cited SB Outdoor Services for failing to report a work-related death of an employee to OSHA within 8 hours as the law requires.

In addition, SB Outdoor Services received OSHA citations for failing to:

Train workers performing landscaping renovations and construction demolition on recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions. 
Provide workers performing construction demolition with head protection.
Brace and shore walls prior to demolition.
Start demolition operations at the top of the structure and proceed downward before the removal of exterior walls.

OSHA proposed $46,021 in penalties to SB Outdoor Services, and $5,801 in penalties to Aquaglobal Corp.

“A family is grieving the loss of a loved one because SB Outdoor Services failed to follow established safety procedures for performing demolition activities,” said OSHA Acting Area Office Director Erin Sanchez in Jacksonville, Florida. “As this case shows, skipping procedures – such as performing engineering surveys before demolition starts – can have tragic consequences. Employers are legally responsible for ensuring their employees have a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA offers compliance assistance to help employers protect the safety and health of their workers.” 

SB Outdoor Services LLC is a landscape and property cleanup contractor.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

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