Excavation Firm Fined $40K for Trenching Violations in Colorado

OSHA's Area Office in Englewood, Colo., has proposed $40,000 in penalties against Spaccamonti Excavating Inc. in Pueblo, Colo., for alleged trenching violations. The agency's investigation disclosed one alleged willful and three alleged serious violations following an inspection at a worksite in Pueblo West.

The alleged willful violation relates to the lack of protective systems required for trench operations. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The alleged serious violations relate to poor egress procedures from the trench, failure to provide proper training for trench operations and placing excavated materials too close to the edge of the trench. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

"Trench operations are inherently dangerous," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "The procedures for protecting trench workers are easy enough to implement, but what's required first is employer and employee dedication to workplace safety and health."

Spaccamonti has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Englewood, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. For more information specific to trench safety, go to www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction/trenching/mainpage.html.

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