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February 14th, 2014

Lake Jackson Matula and Matula Cited for Employee Death in Texas Sewer Accident

A company based in Lake Jackson, Texas has been cited for the death of a worker in a sewer accident.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company Matula and Matula Construction in the death of the 23-year-old worker, who died earlier this year.

The worker had crawled into an abandoned sewer, and was found dead a few hours later.  Investigations indicated that the cause of death had been inhalation of toxic fumes of hydrogen sulphide.  The worker and other employees of Matula and Matula Construction had been engaged in filling out the sewer at the time of the accident.  When emergency personnel responded to the scene of the accident, they were greeted with strong fumes emanating from the sewer.

OSHA began its investigation on 8 February, when the accident took place.  The agency has issued citations, including two for willful violations, two for serious violations and 2 for repeat violations.  Repeat violations involve those that occur even after OSHA has previously cited a firm for the same, or substantially similar, violations.  It appears that Matula and Matula Construction has been cited previously for the same violation, which is failing to make a proper estimate of the worker’s exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Hydrogen sulfide gas can be highly toxic, especially when inhaled in sudden and massive doses.  The presence of hydrogen sulfide is a common problem when workers are entering an enclosed sewer line, or other confined space.  These gases typically accumulate in such confined spaces.  Workers, who are sent in to work in such surroundings, must be assured that there is no danger to their health from noxious gases.  It is the employer’s duty to make sure that the confined space entry process is safe for the worker.

The Houston personal injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent workers injured in scaffolding accidents, trench collapses, electrocutions, and other work accidents across Texas and nationwide.

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