Region 6 News Release: OSHA-02-93
Thurs., June 13, 2002
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
Tunneling Fatality and Safety Violations Brings San Antonio's Du-Mor Enterprises $161,000 in OSHA Fines
DALLAS -- The failure of Du-Mor Enterprises in San Antonio to provide cautions during tunneling operations and training for its employees has resulted in citations and proposed penalties of $161,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA's investigation began Dec. 18, 2001, when a worker, who became unresponsive while working inside a 24-inch diameter pipe tunneled 220 feet into the ground, was killed.
The Labor Department agency cited the company with three alleged willful violations for failing to train employees in tunneling operation precautions, failing to provide rescue for welders and other workers and failing to have a competent person monitoring the tunnel for oxygen and air contaminants. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the OSHA Act and regulations.
Four alleged serious violations were cited for failing to train employees in the hazards of welding chemicals, failing to inspect the jobsite regularly, failing to ensure that welders and other workers were provided adequate ventilation and failing to properly install a trench shield around a boring pit. A serious violation is one which could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Du-Mor Enterprises is a trenching, boring, and tunneling contractor that employs about 75 workers.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA's toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review commission.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov.