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Prosecutors in Seattle, Washington have charged a construction company owner with second degree manslaughter for the 2016 death of a 36-year-old worker. The worker was killed when the unsupported trench he was working in collapsed, burying him in 6,000 pounds of mud and sand.


The construction company owner told investigators that he knew workers were digging in rain-saturated “type C” soil but it was the employees’ responsibility to understand the hazards and determine when shore boards were needed.


The court’s decision sends a message to business owners that they can be held criminally accountable and face felony charges if they knowingly fail to protect their workers. OSHA requires trenches 4-feet or deeper to have ladders every 25-feet of travel and shoring to be in place when 5-feet or deeper.


Business owners must be aware of the OSHA standards and contact City Safety for further safety requirements.


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