Two workers killed while installing sewer pipes in Texas

(UI) — In Texas, two workmen were killed in December while laying sewer pipes in a ditch more than two floors below ground, The Charlotte Observer reported.

They were crushed under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks when a large portion of the excavation collapsed, according to the Charlotte Observer. Authorities said the Georgetown construction contractor, WBW Construction LLC, did not follow the legally mandated safety procedures.

According to the report, in a Dec. 22 news release from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Georgetown construction company gave the contracted laborers "little prospect of survival" before their deaths in June, which prompted an inquiry by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“WBW Construction LLC willfully sent these workers into an unprotected trench and ignored federal safety requirements,” OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins told The Charlotte Observer. “Now, two workers’ families, friends and co-workers are left to grieve their tragic, and avoidable, deaths.”

WBW Construction did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Dec. 23.

According to the report, investigators at the Jarrell residential building site discovered that the contractor did not have a trench protective system in place and that there was no egress point inside the trench within 25 feet.

Authorities allege that the company also failed to remove water from the trench, utilize ladders as intended, inspect the site as regularly as was required by law, and train employees in first aid.

OSHA placed WBW Construction LLC in a Severe Violator Enforcement Program and requested fines of $250,272.

The two victims were provided by Sedona Staffing Services, an Illinois-based provider of temporary staffing, according to authorities.

The corporation received a citation for failing to examine job sites and will now pay $9,324 in fines.

On December 23, Sedona Staffing Services was contacted for comment but did not give any feedback right away.

Following receipt of the penalty notices, both businesses have 15 business days to either comply, request a conference with OSHA, or refute the findings.

According to the press release, OSHA has documented more than 35 worker fatalities in trenching and excavation activity this year as of November. That is more than twice as many trenching and excavation workers as were fatalities in 2021.

Officials stated tha WBW Construction LLC has completed more than 24 residential and commercial projects in Texas.

Jarrell is located 40 miles from Austin and 15 miles northeast of Georgetown.

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