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.

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