OSHA has proposed $40,000 in penalties against Nelson Pipeline Constructors Inc. in Fort Lupton, Colo., for alleged trenching violations.

"The hazards associated with trench operations are well known as are the procedures for managing those hazards," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver, Colo. "All companies engaged in this type of work must endeavor to ensure the safety of their workers."

OSHA's investigation disclosed one alleged willful violation and two alleged serious violations following an inspection at a worksite in Parker, Colo.

The alleged willful violation relates to the lack of protective systems required for trench operations. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The alleged serious violations relate to inadequate procedures for responding to water accumulating in the trench as well as poor egress procedures from the trench. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

Nelson Pipeline Constructors has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Englewood, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.