Feb. 19, 2015
Workers exposed to cave-in hazards at excavation site
OSHA proposes $89K penalty for violations by Angel Brothers Enterprises Ltd.
in Baytown, Texas
Employer Name: Angel Brothers Enterprises Ltd.
Inspection Site: Baytown, Texas
Date Inspection Initiated and What Prompted the Inspection: The complaint-driven investigation began August 2014 as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.
Investigation Findings: The employer was cited for three serious violations and one willful violation for not protecting workers, who were replacing an old fire hydrant and water line, from being engulfed in an unprotected 9-foot deep excavation.
A willful violation, with a penalty of $70,000, was cited for not providing workers in a 9-foot deep excavation with cave-in protection such as a trench box or shoring. 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.
The serious violations, with a penalty of $19,500, include:
- place and keep excavated or other materials or equipment at least 2 feet from the edge of excavations;
- remove accumulated water from inside the trench which weakens its stability; and
- permanently affix durable identification to alloy steel chain slings for lifting capacity and size.
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.
Proposed Penalties: $89,500
Quote: "It takes a matter of seconds for a worker to be engulfed in a trench or excavation site that is not properly protected or sloped. Angel Brothers has a history of failing to protect their employees," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's Houston South office area director. "Company managers were aware of the numerous trenching hazards in advance and yet failed to take action to protect their workers."
Information: Angel Brothers Enterprises, which provides various types of underground utility construction, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Houston South office at 281-286-0583 or its Houston North office at 281-591-2438.
Release Number: 15-269-DAL
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