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September 1st, 2010

Houston Construction Company Cited for Trenching Negligence

OSHA cited Conrad Construction Co. Inc. in Houston, Texas with one alleged willful and two alleged serious violations for failing to protect workers who were replacing manholes on an existing storm sewer line. Proposed penalties total $40,000.

While no one was injured, OSHA did find violations of workplace safety standards.  A willful violation was issued for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with excavation cave-ins.  Serious violations were issued for failing to provide a safe means of egress for access in and out of the excavation and for failing to locate construction materials at a distance of 2 feet from the edge of the trench. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Conrad Construction, which employs about 80 workers, specializes in concrete street paving and underground utilities.  Companies such as Conrad must teach and practice safe trenching practices to ensure their workers safety.

Trenches are very important in construction because pipes and wires will need to be routed through them.  Very dangerous and often lethal problems can arise when untrained or overworked employees misuse equipment like excavators and backhoes to dig trenches.  Trenches can collapse, but to prevent such collapse, a trench box can be put into the trench to keep it from collapsing.  Utility workers, road construction crews, and other Texas workers who work underground are subject to the dangers of trench collapse.

To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA’s toll-free hotline number at 800-321-OSHA (321-6742).

As Texas trench accident, excavator accident, and construction equipment accident lawyers, the Houston construction injury attorneys of Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers handle and investigate fatal workplace accidents which include falls, electrocutions, crane accidents, and other Texas construction negligence claims resulting in serious injury or death. 

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