Federal officials have cited a Baton Rouge-based company for six violations related to the May collapse of a construction trench near Covington that killed a worker.
Ted Hebert LLC faces a possible $105,000 fine for the violations, one of which is classified as “willful” and five as “serious.”
The willful violation involved exposing workers to danger and failing to provide adequate prevention, according to a news release from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The serious violations alleged by OSHA included 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, thus increasing the likelihood of collapse; and failing to maintain a workplace free from recognized hazards.
Isidro Martinez, 24, died when the trench along Pinnacle Parkway just north of Interstate 12 near Covington collapsed May 21. A co-worker also was buried but was rescued by first responders.
“There is no excuse for exposing workers to deadly trench collapse hazards,” OSHA Area Director Dorinda Folse said. She said Ted Hebert “knew what needed to be done, yet a broken trench box lay nearby. Workers had to enter an unsafe trench with no adequate means of keeping the trench from caving in on them.”
Responders at the scene noted the absence of trench boxes, some of which lay scattered nearby. A trench box is a large metal frame with two side panels connected by metal bars that is used to prop up the sides of a trench.
Hebert specializes in the installation of sewers, water pipes and grading; it has 32 employees.
The company has 15 days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the citations, the news release said.
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