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Construction company owner arrested after fatal trench collapse

Peter Dillon's company could have prevented the November 2021 death if it had used "legally required trench protection systems," the Department of Labor said.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The owner of Vail construction company faces charges after an investigation that "deteriorating conditions" led to a deadly trench collapse at a site in November 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) said.

Peter Dillon, the owner of the now-defunct A4S LLC,  turned himself into authorities in Summit County after a warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 24.

That warrant was issued following a federal safety investigation into fatality.

In May of last year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Dillon after a worker installing residential sewer pipes died when the trench around him caved in. The victim was identified as 23-year-old Marlon Alfredo Diaz.

The collapse resulted from deteriorating conditions at the project, which the company "could have prevented" if it had used "legally required trench protection systems," according to the Department of Labor.

OSHA issued three willful citations to A4S LLC for not ensuring the excavation was inspected by a competent person, failing to instruct employees on the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and not having a trench protective system in place. 

Investigators also issued an additional serious citation for not having a safe means of egress within 25 lateral feet of employees working in a trench.

The agency proposed penalties of $449,583 and placed the company in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The department referred the case to the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s office and recommended charges.

A4S LLC has since shuttered and Dillon agreed to forfeit any future ownership, leadership or management position that involves trenching or excavation or the oversight of workplace safety and health.  

Dillon posted a cash bond and is due in court on Feb. 15.

Collapses and cave-ins pose the greatest threat to trenching and excavation workers. In 2022, OSHA reported that at least 39 industry workers died, 22 of them in the first six months of the year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 166 workers died in trench collapses from 2011 to 2018.


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