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Workers dig 11’ trench with no cave-in protection

Colorado contractors cited for trenching hazards

OSHA Enforcement ActivityA Colorado company and the framing subcontractor it used to locate a damaged water pipe have both been cited for safety violations, after OSHA inspectors found their workers in a trench that exceeded 11 feet in depth with no cave-in protection.

Reconstruction Experts Inc. received three safety violations, including one willful. Chivas Contractors was also cited for three serious safety violations during a November 2013 complaint inspection of an Auroro work site where an apartment building was being renovated. The combined proposed penalties total $81,400.

"Employers continue to expose workers to trenching hazards that can end a life in a matter of seconds when a trench caves in," said David Nelson, OSHA's area director in Greenwood Village.

The willful violation for Reconstruction Experts was for failing to ensure workers were protected from cave-in hazards while working in a trench that exceeded 5 feet in depth. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The two serious violations were cited for failing to provide a fall protection system for workers leaning over the edge of the trench while hoisting up excavated material from the bottom of the trench and for failing to provide an access ladder that extended 3 feet above the landing surface.

Chivas Contractors was cited for three serious safety violations for similar hazards.

Reconstruction Experts in Arvada is a general contractor employing about 180 workers. It provides renovation and remodeling services for properties in Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Wyoming. Chivas Contractors in Aurora is a framing contractor employing about 10 workers.

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