OSHA has cited M&G Equipment Group Ltd., doing business as M Construction in Alamo, Texas, with two alleged willful and six alleged serious violations following the death of an employee who was working in a trench installing a storm drainage system, according to an agency press release.

"A company's failure to protect its workers from cave-ins is simply unacceptable," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi, Texas. "If OSHA's standards regarding proper trench sloping, shoring and shielding were followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided."

OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office began its investigation on March 5 at South Tower Road in Alamo. Two willful violations were issued for failure to provide workers with adequate protection from a possible trench cave-in and failure of a competent person to take action where there was evidence of a possible trench cave-in. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious citations were issued for failure to provide workers with safe egress when working in a trench, keep excavated soil a safe distance from a trench, use a properly designed trench shield, and ensure workers are trained on excavation hazards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed penalties total $53,550. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.