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Companies Face Construction Site Fines

Thursday, September 10, 2015

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The federal agency in charge of worker safety has cited two construction companies a combined $88,000 for exposing their employees to excavation hazards on a multi-employer work site.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration gave Hensel Phelps Construction and CVI Development one willful violation each for inadequately protecting workers at the new central library project excavation site in Austin, Texas, the agency said in a Sept. 2 statement.

CVI also received a citation for two serious violations, according to the statement. One was for failing to provide supports where material was excavated below a structure, while the other was for not removing exposed workers from an excavation site after CVI had identified a hazard.

Excavation Hazards

OSHA issued the citations following a March inspection at the site, which was initiated because of a complaint. The agency has beefed up trench inspections as a part of its National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavations.

Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

Hensel Phelps Construction Co. received a $70,000 fine for trench and excavation hazards, according to an OSHA statement. CVI Development was fined $18,000 in the same inspection.

“Excavation hazards are widely recognized in the construction industry and can have grave consequences when not addressed,” said Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin.

“Multi-employer worksites have overlapping and shared responsibilities for protecting workers and OSHA will continue to enforce its standards by holding all companies responsible when workers are exposed to hazards.”

Hensel Phelps Citation

In the citation issued to Hensel Phelps, the agency levied a $70,000 fine for the single willful violation. The agency said on or about March 4, four workers were installing rebar in an unprotected trench during intermittent rain. The trench was about 12 feet, 6 inches deep by 150 feet long.

OSHA regulations require shoring when a trench is 5 feet or greater in depth. Trenches also must be protected under certain sloping conditions, and any shoring in a trench must be used according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The agency said in its citation that both the sloping and the misuse of the manufacturer’s specification requirements were in violation during its inspection.

CVI Citations

Regarding the citation issued against Austin-based CVI, the agency said the company had two serious violations and one willful violation during the same trenching incident.

The agency levied a $14,000 fine against CVI for the willful violation and $2,000 for each serious violation. The willful violation was similar to the violation issued to Hensel Phelps. One of the serious violations said that a competent person on-site did not remove the four employees during the hazard, while the other was for allowing the employees to excavate below a reasonably safe level.

OSHA allows companies that have been issued citations 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent commission.

The Companies

According to the company’s website, Hensel Phelps is a full-service provider of construction services. It offers planning, building and construction management services across the U.S. and has been in business since 1937.

CVI Development, which OSHA said is based in Austin, does not have a website.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Construction; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; OSHA

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