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OSHA: Florida Utility Ignored Rules in Deadly Accident

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By the Associated Press

TAMPA, Florida — A federal agency says Tampa Electric Company ignored its own rules when performing a dangerous maintenance job at one of its plants that left five workers dead.

On Thursday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration slapped the company with its most serious citation — a willful violation.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the company was also fined $126,749 for the June 29 incident. OSHA will also review whether to refer the case to the U.S. Department of Justice to consider criminal charges.

The utility has 15 days to contest the filings.

Company spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said in a statement that while they respect the process, they disagree with the "suggestion that we were willful or deliberately indifferent to the safety of workers." She said they haven't decided whether to contest the citations.

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