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Region 6 News Release:   OSHA-03-191
Thurs., Sept. 18, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221


Trenching Hazards Bring $105,500 in Fines to
Williams Brothers Contractors Co. Inc. of Houston, Texas

DALLAS -- The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Houston-based contracting company with $105,500 in proposed penalties for allegedly failing to adequately protect employees from trench cave-ins.

OSHA cited Williams Brothers Contractors Co. Inc., of Houston, Texas, with six alleged serious and one alleged repeat violations resulting from an inspection that began Feb. 27, 2003, at a Donna, Texas, construction site where five employees were working. The company has contested the citations.

"If the company had installed a protective shield that met the trenching requirements, employees would be adequately protected in the event of a cave in," said John Giefer, OSHA Corpus Christi area director. "This company has repeatedly failed to protect its workers and follow OSHA's trenching standards."

The alleged serious violations include failing to install an adequate protective shield to allow lateral movement while employees are working at the bottom of a trench, permitting employees to install damaged equipment and failing to train employees on the hazards of oxygen deficiency in a confined area. OSHA defines a serious violation as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The alleged repeat violation was for failing to install an adequate shield to protect workers from a possible cave in. The company installed a 10-foot shield in a 17-foot deep trench. Williams Brothers Contractors has been cited for this same violation on two previous inspections. A repeat violation is defined as a violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Corpus Christi area OSHA office at (361) 888-3420. 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.

OSHA is dedicated to assuring worker safety and health. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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