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A Vail, Colorado, construction contractor is facing felony manslaughter charges after a worker died in a trench collapse in 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday.
Following the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Peter Dillon, owner of the now-defunct A4S LLC, after a worker installing residential sewer pipes suffered fatal injuries when the trench he was working in caved in. The collapse resulted from deteriorating conditions at the project, which A4S could have prevented by using legally required trench protection systems, the department said in a statement.
OSHA issued three willful citations and $449,583 in penalties to A4S for not ensuring the excavation was inspected by a competent person, failing to instruct employees on the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and not having a trench protective system in place. Investigators also issued an additional serious citation for not having a safe means of egress within 25 lateral feet of employees working in a trench. OSHA also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The department then referred the case to a U.S. District Attorney’s office, recommending criminal charges for the company’s alleged refusal to require safety protection despite worsening trench conditions that included at least one collapse.
Mr. Dillon agreed to forfeit any future ownership, leadership or management position that involves trenching or excavation, or the oversight of workplace safety and health, according to the department.