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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $209,543 in penalties against a Denver-based excavation contractor following an investigation that determined it allowed employees to work in a 16-foot deep trench amid accumulating water and without protective systems.
The investigation followed a deadly trench collapse in Johnstown on April 16 that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old worker. OSHA inspectors responded to the collapse after one of two workers in the trench became stuck in mud under water.
OSHA cited Dunaway Excavating Inc. for two willful serious violations for failing to protect workers from accumulating water by not using protective systems and failing to ensure workers had a secure way to exit the trench safely. Dunaway Excavating has also been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The family of a man who died two days after a trench collapsed on him can’t sue his employer, an appeals court in Ohio ruled Tuesday, affirming a trial court decision that found the employer was not negligent despite multiple U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.