Texas Company Fined for Trenching and Excavation Hazards

A Frisco, Texas, excavating company faces $56,000 in proposed OSHA penalties for failing to protect employees from a possible cave-in while installing a water main at the base of a trench.

OSHA cited Rodman Underground Inc. with one alleged willful and two alleged serious violations resulting from an inspection that began April 23 at a McKinney, Texas, construction site.

The alleged willful violation was for failing to protect employees from the hazards of a cave-in while working at the base of a trench approximately 9 feet deep. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The two alleged serious violations were for failing to provide employees with a safe means of getting out of the trench, and for failing to place excavated materials at least 2 feet from the trench's edge.

A serious violation is one in which the hazard could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known about it.

According to OSHA, the company had both a safety and health program that addressed the requirements for trenching and excavation, and had a trench safety plan designed by a registered engineer for the specific construction site. The company failed to follow either of the programs.

Rodman Underground Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Dallas area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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