Landscaping company faces $16,000 federal fine after 100-degree hot death of worker

A Florida landscaping company faces a $16,108 fine from OSHA after a worker died in temperatures around 100 degrees last August.

Nakomis-based Olin Landscaping had a clean OSHA record for at least the five years before Saturday, Aug. 25. The Department of Labor says the heat index that afternoon got up between 97 and 103 degrees as Olin’s workers tended to a house on Marigold Road in Venice.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration described the tragedy:

“An employee was using a lawn edger for approximately six hours and began to feel lightheaded. The employee was placed in the shade and given a sports beverage and water to drink. The employee began to feel better and went back to work where he soon passed out and unresponsive. The employee began to have ‘seizure-like’ activity and experienced multiple organ failure, severe dehydration, and hyperthermia.”

“The employee is killed.”

His name wasn’t released by OSHA. Olin Lanscaping didn’t respond to two messages left from the Miami Herald.

Olin still has a few days to decide whether to pay the fine, request an informal conference with the area OHSA director or challenge the citation.

“This preventable tragedy underscores the requirement that employers take precautions — such as ensuring access to water, rest, and shade – to keep workers safe while working in extreme heat,” said OSHA Tampa Area Office Director Les Grove said in the Department of Labor’s announcement of the penalty.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.