News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Colorado Utility Company For Exposing Employees to Trenching Hazards

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited RMS Utilities Inc. – based in Alamosa, Colorado – for exposing employees to trenching hazards. The company faces $92,819 in penalties.

OSHA inspectors found three employees working in an unprotected 13-foot-deep excavation, and asked them to exit the trench. Moments after their exit, one of the trench's walls collapsed. OSHA cited RMS Utilities for one willful and two serious safety violations for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards and keep the spoil pile at least two feet back from the edge of the excavation, and for allowing employees to work beneath an excavator bucket.

"In this instance, the inspectors' quick action removed workers from what could have been a tragic event," said OSHA Englewood Area Director David Nelson. "Employers are required to install adequate cave-in protective systems before allowing employees to enter a trench or excavation."

OSHA's Trenching and Excavation page provides resources on recognizing and controlling hazards.

RMS Utilities has 15 business days from receipt of the citation 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 help 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 http://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Date
September 19, 2019
Release Number
19-1576-DAL
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
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