A construction contractor in Vail, Colorado, faces felony manslaughter charges after a worker died in a trench collapse in 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday.
After the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Peter Dillon, owner of the now-defunct A4S LLC, after a worker installing residential sewer pipes was fatally injured when the trench he was working in caved in. The collapse was due to deteriorating conditions at project, which A4S could have prevented by using legally mandated trench protection systems, the department said in a statement.
OSHA issued three citations and $449,583 in penalties to A4S for failing to ensure the excavation was inspected by a competent person, failing to instruct employees on the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and failing to have a trench protection system in place. Investigators also issued an additional felony citation for failing to have a safe means of egress within 25 feet of the employees working in a trench. OSHA also placed the company in its Serious Violation Program.
The department then referred the case to a U.S. district attorney and recommended prosecution for the company̵7;s alleged refusal to require safety protection despite deteriorating trench conditions that included at least one collapse.
Mr. Dillon agreed to forfeit any future ownership, management or managerial positions involving digging or excavation, or workplace safety and health oversight, according to the department.