Federal workplace safety officials have cited a Baton Rouge, La., contractor following a trench collapse in which a 24-year-old worker, Isidro Martinez, was killed. Another worker was pulled to safety by co-workers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Baton Rouge-based Ted Hebert LLC in November for one willful and five serious violations. Proposed penalties total $105,000. OSHA says the willful violation was for exposing workers to trench hazards and for failing to provide an adequate protection system, such as a trench box or similar equipment, to keep the trench from collapsing. The inspection took place on May 21, 2015. The serious violations included the following:
• Failing to train workers to recognize unsafe conditions;
• Neglecting to have a ladder or other means for workers to exit a trench;
• Keeping materials too close to a trench edge;
• Allowing water to accumulate inside a trench, which would make a collapse more likely; and
• Failing to maintain a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
Ted Hebert, which specializes in the installation of sewers, water pipes and grading, employs approximately 32 workers. The employer had 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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