The Houston South area office of OSHA cited Laser Corp. in The Woodlands, Texas, with four alleged violations and a penalty totaling $195,300 for a trenching accident that claimed the lives of three employees.
The investigation began Oct. 28, in Richmond, Texas, in response to a trenching accident that resulted in a triple fatality.
Three workers were killed last year when a 16-foot-deep utility trench collapsed and buried them.
The employer was cited for one serious and three willful violations.
The three willful violations involved inadequate protective systems to prevent a cave-in, storing excavation materials too close to the edge of the trench and unsafe conditions during entry to and exit from the trench box because of inadequate cave-in protection.
"OSHA will not tolerate employers allowing employees to work in a deep trench without adequate safeguards," said Ray Skinner, OSHA Houston South area director.
Laser Corp. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with the Houston South OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
by Virginia Sutcliffe