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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-05-773-DAL
Tue, May 3, 2005
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
HOUSTON -- A Houston contracting company's alleged failure to properly train employees and follow safety standards has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $43,350 from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Rudy's Contracting, an underground utilities contractor that employs about 17 workers, was cited for one alleged willful and 13 alleged serious violations following an inspection that began Nov. 4 at the company's worksite on Mystic Road and Beechnut in Houston. The inspection, which took place as part of a national emphasis program aimed at preventing trenching and excavation cave-in accidents, found that five employees were working in a 6-foot deep excavation without adequate shoring or sloping.
"Employers must follow health and safety standards to prevent injuries and fatalities," said Chuck Williams, director of OSHA's Houston South area office. "Fortunately, in this case, no one was injured."
The alleged willful violation was for failing to properly shore and slope the excavation walls. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The alleged serious violations included failure to: provide workers with respirators; provide employees with sufficient ladders for access; provide personal protective equipment, in this situation hard hats and eye protection, and properly train employees on the dangers associated with hazardous substances. 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 company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Houston-area employers and workers with questions about safety and health standards can call OSHA's Houston South office at (281) 286-0583 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or imminent dangers.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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