One worker was killed and another injured when a 10’ unprotected trench collapsed December 5 less than ten minutes after the two men entered it.
Municipal District Services LLC, based in Cypress, Texas, was summoned to the scene to repair a water main that was accidentally damaged by a gas line technician. In order to reach the broken pipe the company excavated a 16 foot long, five foot wide, ten foot deep trench – the south wall of which collapsed on the two men, burying them in soft dirt and mud.
One worker was able to climb out of the trench and was taken to an area hospital and treated for back injuries. The other died from his injuries.
The day after the incident, construction crews returned to the site, installed a a shoring box and repaired the water main.
OSHA has cited Municipal District Services for one willful violation with a penalty of $63,000 for failing to provide cave-in protection for workers in a trench or excavation.
"Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations, but they can be performed in a safe manner by using proper safety equipment, such as trench boxes, consistently," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director in the Houston North Office.
Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Municipal District Services provides wastewater treatment and water construction services.