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Worker partially buried in Aurora trench collapse

The Colorado workers’ compensation system provides benefits when an on-the-job accident causes an injury. If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determines the employer ignored safety standards, it may also issue a violation and fine as a way to hopefully reduce similar future workplace accidents.

Recently, a trench collapse trapped a worker fixing a pipe. The Aurora Fire Department had to use hand trowels and shovels to free the worker from the heavy sand dirt that had buried him up to his waist. The worker received IV fluids and oxygen during the rescue and was later transported to a local hospital.

An OSHA investigation into the cause of the construction accident could turn up safety violations and may result in fines. For instance, when workers are in a trench more than five feet deep there needs to a protective structure to prevent collapse and injury. 

In the recent accident, the trench was approximately 8-feet deep, according to an OSHA inspector. An OSHA Area Director also confirmed that no protective system was in the trench at the time of the cave-in.

A review of past OSHA records by ABC News found violations against the company dating back to 2007. The serious violations and fines related to the failure to protect workers from excavation cave-ins. It appears that the company did not learn from the previous violations. Because the trench collapse relates to the same safety violation, fines against the company could be even higher this time.

It is important to report all injuries to your employer as soon as they happen. Then contact a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney for assistance navigating the system.

Source: ABC News Denver, "OSHA investigates possible safety violations after worker trapped in Aurora trench collapse," Lindsay Watts, Alan Gathright, July 16, 2014.

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