$121K in Fines Proposed for Exposing Workers to Trench Cave-In at Austin Project

The construction companies received one willful and four serious violations in total.

OSHA announced it has cited Austin Constructors LLC for one willful and three serious violations involving trenching hazards, according to a news release. The willful violation was issued for not have an adequate protective system in place for employees in the trench, while the serious violations were for failing to support and cover utility lines in the trench, not protecting employees from loose rock or soil, and for not providing guardrails on walkways over the trench. The inspection began in April 2016 at a city of Austin street reconstruction and utility adjustment project; OSHA opened the inspection as part of its National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavations.

The agency has issued $113,486 in proposed penalties to Austin Constructors LLC and $7,857 to Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc.

Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc., which was in charge of the work site, was cited for one serious violation for exposing workers to trench cave-in hazards.

"There are roughly 54 fatalities associated with excavations each year, such as the one that happened in Lockhart this past week, because employers failed to take the necessary measures to keep them safe," said Casey R. Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "These employers knew better, and they are fortunate we inspected them before any of their employees were seriously injured or killed."

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