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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

An Austin Company Faces $113,486 in OSHA Penalties for Alleged Trenching Hazards

Monday, September 12th, 2016
English: Two ATLAS wheeled hydraulic excavator...

English: Two ATLAS wheeled hydraulic excavators on a German construction site. A trench is being excavated with protective trench shielding. Left foreground: a clamshell bucket. Français: Deux pelles hydrauliques sur roues ATLAS, sur un chantier en Allemagne. Excavation d’une tranchée blindée. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As part of a nationwide focus on the dangers of trenching, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected Austin Constructors LLC in April 2016. As a result of the inspection, OSHA investigators allege that one willful and three serious violations involving trenching hazards were committed by the Austin company. Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc. was also included in the inspection, as the company responsible for the worksite. Muniz Concrete has been cited for one serious violation associated with trench cave-in dangers. Austin Constructors faces $113,486 in penalties and Muniz Concrete faces $7,857 in penalties.

Casey R. Perkins, Austin’s OSHA area director, said that ever year about 54 worker deaths are associated with excavations. Employers know better and Perkins expressed his relief that the companies were sited before an employee suffered a workplace fatality or serious workplace injury.

The following are some details about one of the safety violations Austin Constructors allegedly committed:

Investigators allege that on or about April 28, 2016, and at times prior, workers were performing excavation operations in a trench where the underground utility installations were not supported. This exposed employees to the danger of being trapped in an excavation collapse. More specifically, OSHA claims that two workers were in the Northwest extension of the trench underneath and near unsupported utility lines encasement. The same was alleged to be true of two workers in the Southwest extension of the trench, as well. The total proposed penalty associated with this alleged serious violation is: $4,988.

Trenches and excavations are extremely dangerous. On Tuesday, August 9, 2016, a construction worker died in Brazoria County, Texas, when a trench collapsed. The victim was part of a crew of workers digging a sewer line trench. The tragic work fatality occurred about 20 miles south of Houston.

–Guest Contributor

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