OSHA Fines Texas Trenchers $121K

September 12, 2016

Fifty-four workers were killed in excavation accidents last year, according to OSHA.

As part of the agency's aggresive emphasis on trench and excavation safety, two contractors working on a untility project on Colorado Street in Austin, Texas have been fined for willful and serious violations of OSHA's trench safety regulations.

Muniz Concrete and Contracting, Inc., and Austin Constructors LLC were cited last April for exposing their workers to hazards on a project where trenches were being dug under and near unsupported utility line encasements. While the excavation was open, underground installations were not protected, supported or removed as necessary as necessary to safeguard workers.

Employees of Austin Constructors were required to work near an unprotected trench with a facewall of loose rock and soil, exposing them to falling material. Austin Constructors was cited for one willful and three serious violations for failing to secure powerlines, failing to use trench protection, and failing to provide guardrails or walkways over the trench. Total fine: $113,486.

Workers employed by Muniz Concrete and Contracting were exposed to cave-in danger when four employees were jackhammering and shoveling while unprotected in two trench locations. Muniz Concrete and Contracting was cited for one serious violation for exposing workers to cave-in danger. Total fine: $7,857.