OSHA investigates possible safety violations after worker trapped in Aurora trench collapse

OSHA records: Company has prior safety violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it's investigating after a trench collapsed in Aurora, trapping a worker who was fixing a pipe.

The man, an employee for Colorado Pipe Services, was buried up to his waist in dirt and trapped for two hours by the Tuesday morning collapse at 1440 S. Oakland St.

"It's heavy sand dirt that was around him, and when it comes in, it packs in like concrete," Brad Stone, an engineer with the Aurora Fire Department, told 7NEWS reporter Lindsay Watts.

Firefighters gave the man oxygen and IV fluids as rescuers used hand trowels and shovels to clear the dirt away. Officials said he was awake and alert during the rescue.

The worker was taken to the hospital, and co-workers said he's expected to be OK.

OSHA tells 7NEWS there are indications of a safety violation, saying that work in a trench more than 5-feet deep requires a protective structure to shield workers from a collapse. Aurora Fire said the trench was about 12-feet deep and there was no such structure.

"At the time of the cave-in, there was no protective system," confirmed David Nelson, OSHA Area Director at the federal agency's Englewood office. An OSHA inspector examined the scene Tuesday and estimated the trench was about 8-feet deep.

Colorado Pipe Services, a Golden firm, says on its website that it changed its name in 2013 from Colorado Pipe and Concrete. OSHA records show that a business by that name was fined for multiple serious violations in 2007-- all of them related to protecting workers from excavation cave-ins.

Representatives from Colorado Pipe Services did not want to speak on camera at the accident scene and didn't return later calls for comment.

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