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Region 6 News Release: 10-1747-DAL
Dec. 21, 2010
Contact: Elizabeth Todd       Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710       972-850-4709
E-mail: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov       rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Corpus Christi, Texas-based
construction company $87,000 for exposing workers to potential cave-ins

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Ballenger Construction Co. in Corpus Christi three serious and two repeat citations for exposing workers to potential cave-ins while performing trenching work to install a storm drain. Proposed penalties total $87,000.

"OSHA has standards to prevent cave-ins, and they must be followed to prevent injuries or fatalities," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."

OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office began its investigation on June 22 at the company's worksite on Twin River Boulevard where employees were working on installing a storm drain without proper shoring or benching to adequately protect them from a possible cave-in.

Serious citations were issued alleging a failure to ensure employees did not enter areas under digging equipment, ensure soil was placed 2 feet or more from the excavation site and provide safe access to a work area with a break in elevation greater than 19 inches. 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.

The two repeat violations were cited for allegedly failing to provide workers with egress when working in a trench that is deeper than 4 feet and failing to provide cave-in protection. A repeat citation is issued when an employer prev