Vermont has fined a construction company $560,000 for safety violations that officials say led to the death of a construction worker last year, reports the Brattleboro Reformer.

The Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Scott's Construction, Inc. on ten violations, which will likely be contested, last week, according to the Reformer.

VOSHA began an investigation after a 49-year-old worker was critically injured in October 2004 while working on a highway project. The worker died two days later.

Before the accident, construction workers were removing spreaders from an end of a trench, when one of the spreaders got stuck, VOSHA said.

An excavator was used to spread the trench box to ease tension, VOSHA said. The spreader then suddenly released, striking the victim, who was dismantling a trench box inside a trench.

Scott's Construction has been inspected in the past by Vermont and New Hampshire, VOSHA said. The fine was heightened because of the company's record on this project.

"This is a tragic accident that could have been prevented," Labor and Industry Commissioner Laura Collins said in a prepared statement. "Simply prohibiting employees from working in the trench box during the dismantling process would have prevented this tragedy."

VOSHA Director Robert McLeod said the company is exercising its right to employ an independent panel to look into the matter. He said the company will likely contest VOSHA's decision.