Contractor Faces Proposed Penalties of $112K After Trench Collapse, Worker Fatality

Contractor Faces Proposed Penalties of $112K After Trench Collapse, Worker Fatality

OSHA discovered that a protective system had not been provided.

The fatality of a 23-year-old worker who lost their life after a trench collapse may have been avoided had the contractor used protections, OSHA said.

According to a news release, in late December 2022, workers of Coronado Excavation of Sewer and Water Repairs LLC had been installing pipes at a project in Aurora, Colorado. Per the citation, two workers were in a 43-foot-long, 7 1/2 to 8-foot-deep trench—which lacked protective systems—when part of it collapsed, resulting in the loss of a worker’s life.

"Every worker has a right to be protected from hazards like a trench collapse," said OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian in Englewood, Colorado, in the news release.

Following the fatal incident, OSHA discovered that a competent person had not conducted inspections and a soil pile near the trench edge was not protected. In addition, per the citation, the agency found Coronado Excavation:

  • did not supply a protective system for the trench,
  • did not provide trenching and excavation hazard training to workers and
  • did not check if workers were using egresses.

OSHA cited the sewer and water contractor and proposed $112,508 in penalties.

"Coronado Excavation of Sewer and Water Repair's disregard of well-known safety protections for excavation has left a young man's family, friends and co-workers to grieve his needless suffering and loss of life, which the employer could have prevented by following the law,” Vivian said.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

Product Showcase

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. Read More


    With alkaline or rechargeable options, these safety rated, Class 1, Div. 1 Headlamps provide long runtime with both spot and flood options in the same light. Work safely and avoid trip hazards with flexible hands-free lighting from Streamlight. Read More

  • NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter

    SKC NoiseCHEK is the easiest-to-use dosimeter available! Designed specifically for OEHS professionals, SKC NoiseCHEK offers the easiest operation and accurate noise measurements. Everything you need is right in your palm. Pair Bluetooth models to your mobile devices and monitor workers remotely with the SmartWave dB app without interrupting workflow. Careful design features like a locking windscreen, sturdy clip, large front-lit display, bright status LEDs, and more make NoiseCHEK the top choice in noise dosimeters. Demo NoiseCHEK at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More