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Brighton company cited for fatal trench collapse

The U.S. Department of Labor said Coronado Excavation exposed its workers to an unprotected trench.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A Brighton company faces more than $100,000 in penalties in connection with the death of a worker in a trench collapse last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said in a release Wednesday.

In late December 2022, an unprotected trench at an Aurora residential worksite collapsed and fatally injured a 23-year-old employee. The labor department called the incident a tragedy that could have been prevented by using required protections against a leading cause of industry deaths.

> The above video is 9NEWS' initial reporting on the collapse

The release said investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined Coronado Excavation exposed its workers to an unprotected trench at an Eastman Drive worksite. The collapse happened while employees were installing residential pipes, and their employer failed to use adequate protective systems in the trench, as required by law.

OSHA also found that Coronado Excavation had not trained workers on trenching and excavation hazards and did not protect them from excavated material falling into the trench, nor did the company provide safe access to and from the trench.

The company faces $112,508 in proposed penalties, according to the release.

9NEWS has reached out to Coronado Excavation for comment.

“Every worker has a right to be protected from hazards like a trench collapse,” said OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian. “Coronado Excavation of Sewer and Water Repair’s disregard of well-known safety protections for excavation has left a young man’s family, friends and co-workers to grieve his needless suffering and loss of life, which the employer could have prevented by following the law.”

The company has 15 business days from the 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, the release said.



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