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Threat of workplace injury leads to almost $200,000 fine

Any construction company in Colorado or other states must comply with federal safety regulations -- regardless of its size. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined a large corporation that has reportedly been involved in major projects for high profile businesses. The proposed penalties of almost $200,000 were for negligently exposing its workers to unsafe trenches that could cause severe workplace injury or worse. The agency investigated the athletic field contractors during the execution of a contract worth $5.89 million for the construction of sports facilities at a school in another state in June of last year.

The investigators who inspected the worksite said the primary concern was the fact that employees were working in a 10-foot deep trench that had no protection against collapse. Officials remarked that the collapse of a single wall of the excavation could dump thousands of pounds of soil on the workers, changing the trench into a grave within the blink of an eye. Reportedly, the excavation lacked shoring or any other precautions to prevent collapse and protect workers.

Other safety hazards identified during the investigation included the failure of the employer to carry out daily inspections. Furthermore, sewage spilled into an excavation from a broken pipe, undermining the security of the trench wall. Also, workers were exposed to fall hazards, and favorable conditions for explosions and atmospheric hazards existed.

A Colorado worker in any industry is entitled to pursue workers' compensation benefits if he or she suffers a workplace injury. Employers must provide insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages that are brought about by on-the-job injuries. Some workers choose to seek the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to assist with the complicated claims process.

Source: Verona, NJ Patch, "Field Renovations At Verona School Put Workers In Danger: Feds", Eric Kiefer, Jan. 9, 2017

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