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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Contractor in Colorado For Exposing Employees to Trenching Hazards

DENVER, CO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited ContractOne Inc. – based in Avon, Colorado – for safety violations following a fatal trench cave-in.

OSHA determined ContractOne Inc. willfully failed to use a trench protective system at a residential construction site where employees were installing water lines. The employer failed to conduct regular site inspections to correct potentially hazardous conditions; did not place excavated soil piles a safe distance from trench edges; failed to provide ladders for egress; and failed to utilize appropriate utility locate procedures during trenching operations. The company faces penalties of $57,463.

"This employer's failure to install protective systems contributed to the death of a worker," said OSHA Area Director Herb Gibson, in Denver. "Trenching hazards are well-known, but they can be prevented when the employer meets their legal obligations and takes proper precautions."  

Trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than five feet, and soil and other materials kept at least two feet from the edge of a trench. OSHA has a National Emphasis Program focused on preventing trenching and excavation collapses. The agency also offers a wide range of resources and guidance information including an e-tool for safe excavation and trenching.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
January 3, 2019
Release Number
Media Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez