US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Corpus Christi, Texas-based
construction company $87,000 for exposing workers to potential cave-ins
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Ballenger Construction Co. in Corpus Christi three serious and two repeat citations for exposing workers to potential cave-ins while performing trenching work to install a storm drain. Proposed penalties total $87,000.
"OSHA has standards to prevent cave-ins, and they must be followed to prevent injuries or fatalities," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."
OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office began its investigation on June 22 at the company's worksite on Twin River Boulevard where employees were working on installing a storm drain without proper shoring or benching to adequately protect them from a possible cave-in.
Serious citations were issued alleging a failure to ensure employees did not enter areas under digging equipment, ensure soil was placed 2 feet or more from the excavation site and provide safe access to a work area with a break in elevation greater than 19 inches. A serious citation is issued 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.
The two repeat violations were cited for allegedly failing to provide workers with egress when working in a trench that is deeper than 4 feet and failing to provide cave-in protection. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards and safety is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Ballenger Construction, which engages in road, highway and bridge work as well as drainage projects, employs about 600 workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may contact OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office at 361-888-3420 or call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.
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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