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Region 6 News Release: 14-31-DAL
Jan. 16, 2014
Contact: Diana Petterson      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Cypress, Texas, employer after
trenching collapse resulted in 1 worker fatality and 1 injury
Municipal District Services cited for 1 willful violation

HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Municipal District Services LLC in Cypress, Texas, for one willful violation after a December 2013 trenching collapse in Cypress resulted in a fatality and an injury.

To repair a water main, the company excavated a trench through a concrete road. The trench was 16 feet long, 5 feet wide and 8 to 10 feet deep. Two workers entered the unprotected trench to clean up and cut a broken pipe. After approximately five to ten minutes inside the trench, the south wall of the excavation caved in.

"Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations, but they can be performed in a safe manner by using proper safety equipment, such as trench boxes, consistently," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director in the Houston North Office.

A willful violation, with a penalty of $63,000, was cited for failing to provide cave-in protection for workers in a trench or excavation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Municipal District Services provides wastewater treatment and water construction services. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's San Antonio Area Office, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Houston North Office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South Office at 281-286-0583.

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 ensure 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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.


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