Region 8 News Release: 02-OSHA
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
PHONE: Office:303-844-1302/Home: (303) 690-3824
OSHA FINES COLORADO SPRINGS CONTRACTOR $112,700 FOR WILLFUL AND
SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF TRENCHING AND EXCAVATING STANDARDS
Cornella Brothers Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., was cited Monday for willful and
serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and issued proposed penalties
The violations and the penalties were issued by the Englewood Area Office of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an inspection of an excavation in
Colorado Springs. This inspection was initiated by a self-referral from an OSHA employee under
a National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavating. OSHA has targeted trenching and
excavation activities since the 1970's.
John Healy, OSHA Area Director in Englewood, said the violations resulted because the
employer failed to provide adequate sloping, shoring, shields, or equivalent systems to protect
employees from cave-in hazards. Further, the employer allowed excavated material to be stored
at the edge of the excavation.
Additional citations were issued for accumulations of water in the excavation, lack of a
safe means of egress, and failure to utilize hard hats.
"Disregard for employee safety is not acceptable," Healy said. "The cave-in hazards were
obvious and supervisors should have removed workers from the potentially life-threatening
Healy said studies estimate that 100 employees are killed in excavation-related incidents
each year in the United States. Over the past year OSHA has investigated ten instances of
employees being caught in cave-ins in Colorado which includes one fatality.
Healy can be reached at (303) 843-4500 (x-137).
OSHA cited Cornella Brothers for:
Failure to place excavated material a safe distance from the edge of the trench.
Willful violation $49,000
Failure to provide an adequate protective system for employees working in an
excavation and failure to remove employees from a known hazardous excavation.
Willful violation $49,000
Three Serious Violations for allowing water to accumulate in the trench, failure to
provide a safe means of egress, and not utilizing hard hats.
Serious violations $14,700
According to OSHA records, the company has three prior citations for unsafe excavations
with two in 1998 and one in 1995.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain
indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA Act and its regulations.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or
serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Cornella Brothers Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an
informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed
penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
EDITORS NOTE: A photo to go with this news release is available and can be sent to you
at your request via e-mail. The color photo, taken by OSHA compliance officers
investigating the site, shows an employee of the cited company working at the bottom of
this dangerous excavation.
To arrange for an e-mail transmission of this photo please contact:
USDOL/Office of Public Affairs