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Trench hazards net safety fines for Texas contractor


A Texas contractor has been cited and is facing $124,300 in proposed fines from federal workplace safety regulators for exposing workers to trench hazards.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Roanoke, Texas-based Oscar Renda Contracting Inc., a pipeline, well and wastewater construction company, for allowing employees to work unprotected in excavations and permit-required confined spaces, the agency said Thursday in a statement.

The agency issued one willful citation for exposing workers to cave-ins and 11 serious citations for allowing unnecessary material and unsupported equipment within 2 feet of the excavation’s edge, failing to train employees in the safe performance of their duties and not providing rescue and emergency equipment, among other violations, according to the press release.

“Six times in 10 years, we have found Oscar Renda Contracting risking the lives of its employees in underground trenches,” Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South office, said in a statement. “Imagine the fear of working below ground when thousands of pounds of soil begin to fall on you and the likelihood that you will be buried alive because your employer valued a contract more than your life. OSHA remains firm in its commitment to hold employers accountable for their actions when fundamental common sense and humanity are not enough to make them change.”

A company spokesperson could not immediately comment on the citations and proposed fines.

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