OSHA Cites Houston Contractor Following Teen Worker

OSHA Cites Houston Contractor Following Teen Worker's Trench Collapse Death

Hurtado Construction Co. now faces $257,811 in proposed penalties.

An OSHA investigation into the death of an 18-year-old worker in a trench collapse near Fulshear, Texas, has unveiled serious safety violations by a Houston-area contractor.

According to a release dated March 18, the agency found that Hurtado Construction Co. allowed the teenager to work in the excavation without implementing proper protective systems, resulting in the collapse of the trench wall in September 2023. The worker suffered fatal injuries when tons of dirt pinned him against a reinforced concrete box. The company faces $257,811 in penalties for its willful disregard of safety measures.

“Hurtado Construction has routinely ignored its legal responsibility to protect employees’ safety and health,” OSHA Area Director Larissa Ipsen in Houston said in a statement. “The company’s callous disregard has cost a young man his life and left his family, friends and co-workers to grieve a terrible tragedy under circumstances that were completely preventable.” 

With a history of multiple OSHA citations dating back to 2007, Hurtado Construction has a demonstrated pattern of safety failures, including a citation in November 2021 for similar violations at another worksite in Katy, Texas. In this most recent case, OSHA issued one willful citation and five serious citations for, among other safety failures, the lack of adequate protections in the trench and insufficient employee safety measures.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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