Contractor Cited After Trenching Injury

January 9, 2014

OSHA has cited DNT Construction of Round Rock, Texas with multiple safety hazards at a San Antonio work site after a worker was injured in a trenching collapse. Proposed penalties total $89,000.

OSHA's San Antonio Area Office began its investigation in August after the worker injury. When OSHA arrived at the site to conduct the investigation, another worker was in the same trench and exposed to similar hazards as the injured worker. At the time of the inspection, the worker was inside a seven-foot-deep trench without sloping, benching or shoring up. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

A willful violation, with a penalty of $70,000, was cited for failing to provide cave-in protection for an employee inside a trench. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"A trench or excavation site without proper protection can become a grave in a matter of seconds. This employer failed to protect the worker who was injured and then sent another worker into the same hazardous trench. OSHA will not tolerate such distain for worker safety," said Kelly Knighton, OSHA's area director in San Antonio.

In addition, three serious violations, carrying penalties of $19,000, were issued for failing to place and maintain the excavated material at a distance of two or more feet from the trench edge, support structures that could pose a hazard and compromise the trench and failure to provide a competent person to remove workers from a trench if needed. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known

Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at:

Based in Round Rock, DNT Construction is a private company that provides utility construction services. The company, which employs approximately 385 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's San Antonio Area Office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.