The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Texas company for exposing its workers to dangerous conditions in underground trenches. The company, Angel Brothers Enterprises Ltd. was cited for violations after an OSHA safety inspector noticed workers being instructed to enter unprotected trenches at a Harris county job site. This is the seventh time the company has been cited by OSHA since 2009. There are serious dangers associated with working in trenches. Trench collapses kill hundreds of workers every year. It is disappointing to see this specific company ignore such a serious safety hazards. If you have any questions about trench collapse related injuries, please contact an experienced San Antonio work injury lawyer for immediate legal assistance.
OSHA Regularly Inspects Trenches
Angel Brothers Enterprises was cited during a standard OSHA job site review. The investigation was conducted under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for Trenching. Since the mid-eighties, OSHA has placed a heightened emphasis on trying to protect workers from trench accidents. Safety officials have noted that trench accidents are a workplace safety area where:
- The risk of catastrophic injuries, and loss of life, is extremely high;
- Accidents are largely preventable if proper safety precautions are taken; and
- Employers have continued to underappreciated worker safety.
OSHA inspectors within region 6, which includes Texas, have been instructed to be on the lookout for trenching and excavation on worksites. All trenches should be inspected. Digging a trench involves a lot of high powered industrial equipments, so injuries can occur in numerous different ways. However, the single biggest injury risk continues to be cave-ins. A trench cave-in could result in an innocent worker being buried alive. It is horrifying to think of such an accident occurring. This is why it is critical that all excavation projects follow the strict Federal safety guidelines.
Reducing the Risks of Cave-ins
The risks of a cave-ins can be dramatically reduced if a trench is properly protected. Specially, all companies engaging in this type of work should:
- Ensure that large equipment is away from the edge of the trench;
- Ensure that any removed soil is away from the trench;
- Examine the trench and identify any potential sources of instability;
- Know the precise location of all underground wires, before excavating;
- Conduct a comprehensive inspection of the trench before every shift;
- Conduct a comprehensive inspection whenever conditions change, such as when it begins to rain; and
- Use the appropriate protective trench system, depending on the specific nature of the project, this could include: benching, sloping, shoring or shielding.
Finally, it is critical that all trench workers are adequately trained. Companies should not cut corners, proper worker training goes along way towards reducing the risk of serious accidents.
Need Legal Assistance?
All Texans deserve safe working conditions. If you, or a family member, has been the victim of a trench collapse, or any other construction accident, please contact our San Antonio office today at (210) 308-8811 to schedule a free legal consultation. We provide legal services to injured victims throughout South Texas, including in Webb County and Bexar County.