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Trench Collapse in Cypress Results in Fatality & Injury

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 16-Jan-2014

On January 16, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupation Safety and Health Administration announced that it will be citing Municipal District Services LLC, in Cypress Texas, for one will violation with a penalty of $63,000. The violation is a result of the December 2013 trenching collapse incident that occurred in Cypress. The accident involved two workers, resulting in one fatality and one injury.

While attempting to repair a water main, the company had excavated a trench that was 16 feet long, 5 feet wide and about 10 feet deep. Two Municipal District Services workers went into the trench to clean it up and handle a broken pipe issue. In just a matter of minutes, one of the excavation walls caved in, leaving the workers trapped. The fatality and injury were both preventable in the situation if proper protections had been used.

Though trenching can be one of the most hazardous construction jobs, there are safety measures that can be taken to prevent these dangerous situations. Trench boxes can help protect workers inside from possible collapse damage, however, none were used at the Cypress site. The failure to ensure a safe work environment was placed on their employer, who now faces more serious consequences.

Municipal District Services was cited with a willful violation for failing to provide the proper safety equipment for their workers during this trench job. According to the Occupation Safety and Health Act of 1970, every employer is responsible for making available a safe and healthy work environment for employees. With disregard to the safety and health of their workers, Municipal District Services is responsible for the fatality and injury that occurred. OSHA will be following up with the case to ensure that these conditions are being met on a consistent basis by the Cypress company.

If you have more questions about workplace injuries or would like to talk with an attorney, be sure to contact Arnold & Itkin today.

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