There were two workers installation of sewage pipes in the trench more than two stories underground in Texas when they were killed, authorities said.
Their deaths in June prompted the investigation Labor Safety Administrationthat found a Georgetown construction company was giving contract workers “little chance of survival,” according to a Dec. 22 press release from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“A large portion of the excavation collapsed, crushing it under thousands of pounds of soil and rock,” authorities said, adding that WBW Construction LLC failed to take safety precautions required by law.
WBW Construction LLC, a Georgetown-based construction contractor, did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ Dec. 23 request for comment.
“WBW Construction LLC willfully sent these workers into an unprotected trench and ignored federal safety requirements,” OSHA Regional Director Casey Perkins said in the release. “Now the two workers’ families, friends and colleagues are left to mourn their tragic and avoidable deaths.”
Investigators found the contractor did not have a trench protection system installed and there was no exit point within 25 feet of the trench at the Jarrell construction site, the release said.
The company also didn’t use ladders as intended, didn’t inspect the site as often as required by federal law, didn’t remove water from the trench and didn’t train workers in first aid, authorities said.
“Incidents like this can be prevented by following proven and well-known methods of protecting workers from the hazards of trenching and earthmoving,” Perkins said.
OSHA proposed penalties of $250,272 and include WBW Construction LLC in the serious offender monitoring program.
Sedona Staffing Services — an Illinois-based company that provides temporary staffing — provided the two employees who were killed, officials said.
The company was named without checking jobs and face a fine of $9,324.
Sedona Staffing Services did not immediately respond to a Dec. 23 request for comment.
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citation notice to comply, request a meeting with OSHA, or contest the findings.
In 2022, OSHA reported more than 35 worker fatalities during trenching and earthmoving through November, according to the release. This is more than twice the number of trench and excavation workers who died in 2021.
WBW Construction LLC has developed more than 24 Texas residential and commercial projects, officials said.
Jarrell is about 15 miles northeast of Georgetown and 40 miles from Austin.