Trench Death Results in Jail Time for Construction Company Owner

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Trench Death Results in Jail Time for Construction Company Owner
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Trench Death Results in Jail Time for Construction Company Owner

A Colorado state court has sentenced the owner of a construction company to jail and ordered restitution for the family of a 50-year-old company worker who suffered fatal injuries in a trench collapse at a jobsite in June 2018.

The Grand County Court of the State of Colorado sentenced Bryan Johnson, owner of Avon, Colorado-based ContractOne Inc., to 10 months in jail for two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of third-degree assault related to the death of Rosario Martinez. Johnson pleaded guilty to the charges last month.

In its sentencing, the court also ordered Johnson to serve three years’ probation, pay Martinez’s family $25,000 in restitution, make contributions to local charities and complete safety training. He also must allow OSHA to inspect his worksites without an administrative warrant.

Trench Death Results in Jail Time for Construction Company Owner

OSHA has made reducing trenching and excavation hazards one of its top goals. According to the agency's website, to prevent cave-ins, contractors must keep trenches safe by one of three methods:

  • Sloping or benching trench walls.
  • Shoring trench walls with supports.
  • Shielding trench walls with trench boxes.

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