OSHA Cites Construction Company More Than $81,000

                               Galena Park, TX (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Horseshoe Construction Inc. with one willful, two serious, one repeat and one other-than-serious violation for failing to protect workers from excavation hazards. Proposed penalties total $81,620.

"OSHA has specific standards to prevent trenching accidents such as cave-ins," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office in Texas. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began an investigation Nov. 19 on Craig Drive in Galena Park and found employees installing a sewer line within an excavation without a protective shoring system in place. A willful violation was issued for failing to protect workers from a possible cave-in. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious violations were issued for failing to provide a safe means of access and egress from the excavation, and for failing to remove accumulating water at the bottom 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.

A repeat violation was issued for having excavated material piles located within 2 feet of the edge of the excavation. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

The other-than-serious violation was issued for failing to complete all recordable work-related injuries in detail on the OSHA 300 log. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Horseshoe Construction, which is based in LaPorte, Texas, employs about 78 workers and specializes in underground utility construction and maintenance. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438, its Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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