US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Austin, Texas-based
Kinney's Commercial for excavation hazards
AUSTIN, Texas - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Kinney's Commercial Inc. in Austin with alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible excavation cave-ins. Proposed penalties total $40,750.
"This employer put its workers at risk for injury or death by not implementing required safeguards to prevent excavation hazards," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Employees are entitled to a safe and healthful workplace."
OSHA's Austin Area Office began its investigation on April 2 at the company's worksite on West Slaughter Lane. The inspection was initiated under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavations after an OSHA inspector observed an employee climbing down a ladder into an excavation without shoring to prevent a possible cave-in. The inspection found near vertical excavation walls to depths greater than 8 feet, water accumulating in the bottom of the hole and soil sloughing off from the sides of the trench.
A willful violation was issued for failing to provide cave-in protection such as a metal trench box where the excavation walls were not sloped or benched. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Serious violations include failing to have a competent person remove employees from the excavation site to prevent injuries from a possible cave in and to prevent water from accumulating in the excavation. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The five other-than-serious violations involve recordkeeping. The company was cited for failing to detail the nature of injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 log, and not having the log reviewed and signed by a company executive on an annual basis. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Kinney's Commercial Inc., which employs about 40 workers in Austin, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (321-6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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