Colorado company fined $31K for fatal trench collapse

Posted at 3:45 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 17:45:03-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined an excavation company for the deaths of two Colorado workers who were trapped for hours in a collapsed trench.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported Friday that Firestone-based Backhoe Excavating was fined $31,446 for five citations. The largest fine was more than $13,000 for failing to provide an adequate protective system for the workers, 26-year-old Cristopher Ramirez, of Boulder, and 41-year-old Jorge Valadez, of Denver.

The company also received two citations totaling more than $10,000 for not following specific excavation requirements.

The workers were installing sewer pipe in a 15-foot-deep (4.5-meter-deep) trench in Windsor on April 16 when it gave way. They were dead when emergency crews reached them.

Crews had used a PVC pipe to communicate with one of the men during the rescue effort.