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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-05-1062-DAL
Friday, June 17, 2005
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
Citations and Fines Totaling $116,500
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Ramos Industries Inc of Houston and proposed penalties totaling $116,500 from a partial trench collapse that trapped a worker.
OSHA cited the company with one alleged willful, four alleged serious and one alleged repeat violation following an investigation that began Dec. 7, 2004, when an employed working in a 17-foot deep trench at a construction site in Palmhurst, Texas, was trapped for several hours while rescuers had to shore up the lower portions of the trench before they could enter to extract the injured worker.
"The investigation revealed that the employee was working in an unguarded trench without an escape ladder," said John Giefer, OSHA Corpus Christi area director. "By not following OSHA trenching standards, the employer exposed to unnecessary hazards."
The willful citation was for failing to install trench protective systems so that less than two feet of unprotected trench wall existed below the bottom of the trench box. OSHA issues a willful citation when there is evidence of the intentional violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to its requirements.
The serious citations were for failing to properly move trench boxes to prevent damage during transportation, failing to provide a competent person to daily inspect trenches and failing to use a trench protective system with appropriate strength. 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 repeat citation is for failing to have a safe means of entering and exiting trenches. A violation is designated as repeat when a similar citation for the same hazard was issued in the previous three years.
Ramose Industries employs about 254 workers and is headquartered in Houston.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Corpus Christi area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office at (361) 888-3420 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.
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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