After Trench Collapse, Colorado Utility Company Cited for Trenching Hazard Violation

RMS Utilities Inc. from Alamosa, Colorado is facing $92,819 in fines after employees were almost buried in a trench collapse.

OHSA inspectors found three employees working in an unprotected 13-foot-deep excavation and asked them to exit the trench. Moments after their exit, one wall of the trench collapsed. Now, RMS Utilities is facings citations for one willful and two serious safety violations for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards, failing to keep the soil pile as least two feet from the excavation’s edge, and for allowing employees to work beneath an excavator bucket.

The company faces these citations and $92,819 in penalties. Had the inspectors not acted quickly to remove workers from the trench, a tragedy could have occurred. OSHA Englewood Area Director David Nelson said, ““Employers are required to install adequate cave-in protective systems before allowing employees to enter a trench or excavation.”

OSHA has a resource for recognizing and controlling hazards on its Trenching and Excavation page.

RMS Utilities has 15 business days upon receipt of the citation and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Read more about the citation from OSHA’s new release.

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