COLORADO CONTRACTOR GIVEN JAIL SENTENCE

A Colorado contractor was sentenced to 10 months in jail after one of his workers died in a trench collapse in 2018.

Bryan D. Johnson, president of residential and commercial general contractor ContractOne of Avon, pleaded guilty in June to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of third degree assault. His sentence also included three years of probation, up to $25,000 in restitution to the worker’s family, donations to local charities and safety training.

The employee was working in an eight-foot-deep trench attaching a copper water pipe to a main line when the trench collapsed and buried him. The trench had previously collapsed the day before the incident, “but Johnson ignored obvious signs to change his procedure,” OSHA says. The worker was also not trained in trenching; he was hired to install drywall and for carpentry work.

OSHA later cited ContractOne with one willful violation for not having a protective system to prevent a cave-in, and other serious violations including no worker hard hat or eye protection, no ladder or other means to exit the trench, working in a trench with accumulated water, and the trench had not been inspected by a competent person before workers entered.

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