Worker Injured in Trench, Two Denver Firms Fined $42,790

OSHA's investigation was initiated in March after an employee was pinned and injured in a 9-foot-deep trench when a large piece of the trench wall caved in on him.

OSHA has issued citations for one willful and two serious violations to High Plains Grading in Aurora, Colo., and for one serious violation to Century Communities LLC in Denver for exposing workers to trench cave-in hazards at an Arapahoe County job site.

The citations carry proposed fines of $37,400 for High Plains Grading and of $5,390 for Century Communities.

OSHA's investigation was initiated in March after an employee was pinned and injured in a 9-foot-deep trench when a large piece of the trench wall caved in on him. High Plains Grading was cited for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards, the willful violation. The same company previously was cited in Colorado for unsafe excavations in 2006 and 2009.

"The hazards associated with trenching are well known by the industry and specifically by this employer," said John Healy, OSHA area office director in Englewood. "Such disregard for the well-being of workers will not be tolerated."

High Plains Grading also was cited for serious violations – failing to support an exposed gas line in the trench and an inadequate ladder. As the controlling employer for the unsafe trench, Century Communities LLC was issued a serious citation, as well, for failure to ensure that a subcontractor used an appropriate shoring or sloping system in the trench.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

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