AUSTIN (KXAN) — After two workers died in a trench collapse at a Jarrell construction site in June, the U.S. Department of Labor found that the Georgetown company in charge of the site “willfully violated federal law.”
Federal investigators with the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found WBW Construction LLC, “failed to have a trench protective system in place and did not provide an exit point within 25 feet inside a trench.” OSHA also said it issued four “serious” citations to the company for, “not using ladders as designed, failing to inspect the work site as frequently as required, not removing water from the trench and failing to provide workers with first aid training.”
OSHA said it’s proposing $250,272 in fines against WBW Construction LLC and placed it in the agency’s severe violator enforcement program. The construction company is a division of WBW Development Group, which the Labor Department says manages more than two dozen residential and commercial projects in Texas and is based in Georgetown.
The Labor Department said 35 workers have died performing trenching and excavating work through November of this year, more than double the number of deaths in all of 2021.
OSHA also proposed a fine of $9,324 against Sedona Staffing Services, the temporary staffing agency that placed the two workers with the construction company, for “not inspecting the job site.”
It took crews 23 hours to recover the bodies of the two workers, who were later identified as Jimmy Lee Alvarado, 20, and Jose Vargas Ramirez, 39, both of Florence. The two were working at a construction site off the northbound side of Interstate 35 when the collapse occurred.
KXAN reached out to the WBW Development Group and Sedona Staffing Services for comment on the proposed OSHA fines, and we’ll update this story when we hear back from them.