Texas Leveling Company Cited After Fatal House Collapse

OSHA has cited an Austin, Texas-based house leveling company for alleged violations of safety standards, following the investigation of a fatal accident that occurred last December.

Austin House Leveling & Soil Stabilization Inc., which employs about 12 workers, was cited by OSHA's Austin area office for seven alleged serious safety violations and issued $14,700 in proposed fines stemming from the accident.

OSHA's investigation began Dec. 28 when a 100-year-old house undergoing renovations by the company shifted and collapsed on workers, killing one and injuring another.

OSHA's John Miles, regional administrator in Dallas, said the accident could have been prevented if the company had followed proper construction standards and trained employees to recognize hazards.

The alleged serious violations were issued for failing to train employees, failing to require hard hats, improper use of jacks and failing to follow OSHA's excavation standards, including those which require support for structures adjacent to excavations.

Focusing on Construction Safety in Texas

As part of a special emphasis initiative, the OSHA regional office in Dallas has implemented an outreach program to address and improve job safety and health in the residential construction industry in Texas.

"An important objective of this special emphasis program is to reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses among the large Hispanic workforce in the state's residential construction industry," Miles said.

OSHA's seven area offices throughout Texas will focus their resources on local factors that have contributed to serious injuries or fatalities. Other program objectives include motivating workers and employers to emphasize safety; encouraging the involvement of employees in analyzing and eliminating hazards; and establishing sound safety and health programs in English and Spanish that cover the full range of work practices used by local companies.

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