Texas Contractor Cited After Workers Injured in Trench Collapse

Texas Contractor Cited After Workers Injured in Trench Collapse

The two workers were allegedly told to return to a partially collapsed trench. It collapsed again.

Two workers in Austin, Texas were injured after being told to return to a trench after escaping a partial collapse.

According to a press release, in October 2021, the workers were in an unprotected 13-foot trench when it partially collapsed. Hours later, after escaping, they were told to return to the trench but it soon collapsed again, burying one worker and partially burning another. As a result, one worker was fatally injured and the other severely injured.

OSHA cited D Guerra Construction LLC for various violations including two willful for failing to inspect the trenches and failing to protect workers from cave-ins. The contractor was also issued a citation for not reporting the hospitalizations in a timely manner. (OSHA standards require reporting within 24 hours.) The penalties total $243,406.

“Despite a partial trench collapse earlier in the day, D Guerra Construction LLC recklessly sent employees back into the excavation without protective measures to prevent another cave-in,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin in the press release. “The loss of this worker's life was preventable and the employer must be held responsible for ignoring excavation safety rules.”

The company has 15 days to respond.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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