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OSHA fined Colorado Pipe Services, a company based in Golden, CO, $14,000 for a willful safety violation because of a July 15th work accident in Aurora, CO that left a construction worker buried to his neck by a trench cave-in. The man’s supervisor saw the excavation had collapsed overnight and still ordered the man to clear dirt off a sewer line in the 8-foot-deep trench. When the worker followed instructions, a wall of soil collapsed, knocked him over, and covered him to his neck.

Initially, the crew used an aluminum panel structure to reduce the risk of cave-ins, but the structure had been removed the day before the cave-in because the sewer line was complete. There hadn’t been an inspection to the line yet. When the wall collapsed, the construction worker’s supervisor and a coworker cleared enough dirt from the man’s chest so he could breathe until paramedics arrived.

Workers In Colorado Have The Right To A Safe Working Environment- Learn How Employers Are Obligated To Provide A Safe Workplace

Aurora firefighters shoveled dirt from the man’s body for two hours before he was clear. An OSHA video of the rescue shows firefighters lifting the man’s limp body with ropes on a backboard. The worker was hospitalized and thankfully survived the trauma.

OSHA cited the company three different times in 2007 for violations of trench safety regulations. Unfortunately, it took this trench cave-in to demonstrate how important company policies are to workplace safety. Colorado Pipe Services and OSHA settled the penalty for $11,500. In addition to the fine, the company’s management must take a compulsory course related to workplace safety. However, there is no news as to whether the man who suffered for his company’s disregard to workplace safety received the benefits to which he is entitled.

Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact our Denver and Greeley Workers’ Compensation Attorneys here or call us at (866) 356-9898 for your free consultation.


Alan Gathright

December 1, 2014