Wednesday, August 19, 2015

OSHA Violation Leads to Massive Fine in Texas

Occupational Safety and Health Administration levies nearly $424,000 fine against Texas company

While following safety regulations may take time and effort, most companies recognize the importance of ensuring their workers’ safety and make sure they do everything right. One company, however, chose not to comply with industry standards while on the job in Richmond, Texas. While they may have saved a bit of time by skipping important procedures, Hassell Construction Co. – and their employee – are paying the price for neglecting safety.

Workplace safety is crucial at all jobs.
OSHA training is important to
avoid accidents and fines.
Hassell’s employees were working inside an eight foot deep trench that had been left unprotected, putting all of them at risk. While they were working the trench collapsed and trapped one employee inside. His coworkers dug him out using their bare hands, pulling him to safety only moments before the trench collapsed again. After being trapped underground the employee is facing serious injuries.

OSHA responded by slamming the company with $434,900 in fines for failing to protect their workers and putting all of them at risk. 

According to Safety News Alert, their violations included:

  • 6 egregious (per-instance) willful violations for failing to protect workers in an excavation from a cave-in
  • Failure to remove debris from the edge of the excavation
  • Failure to provide a safe means to get in and out of the excavation for workers
  • Failure to conduct atmospheric testing inside excavations after a sewer leak

OSHA chief David Michaels condemned the company’s violations, pointing out that, “For more than 2,500 years, man has known how to prevent deadly trench collapses. It is absolutely unacceptable that employers continue to endanger the lives of workers in trenches.” The citations were issued on the same day as OSHA fined Cotton Commercial USA Inc. $362,500 for safety violations in another town.

OSHA often fines companies heavily for not protecting employees; its influence is felt across the nation. The Administration's persistence in punishing violators points to the importance of workplace safety; regulations and requirements are designed to protect workers and avoid injuries like those suffered by the Hassell employee. It’s crucial that employers fulfill their responsibilities by knowing and following all regulations – and good safety practices don’t only protect workers but also ensure that companies maintain a good reputation.

Protect your workers on the job and avoid heavy fines; check out our OSHA Safety courses to make sure you’re in compliance with OSHA regulations.