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 the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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