OSHA reveals new details in trench collapse

Posted at 2:38 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 14:54:38-04

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration tells that investigators did not find evidence that crews who were working on a trench that collapsed in Mentor earlier this week, killing a 28-year-old worker, reinforced the trench in any way.  

According to OSHA, a trench box or material used to reinforce the walls of the trench is required for any trench that is more than 4-feet deep.

Alexander Marcotte was killed when a trench cave approximately 6- to 8-feet deep collapsed on him while he was working at a home on Heisley Road Tuesday.

The City of Mentor said the accident occurred as a water line was being relocated by Aqua Ohio Incorporated, the company where Marcotte was employed.

OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen said the death was "completely preventable."

"Had they been following all OSHA standards and regulations, this individual would still be alive," Allen said.

Allen also said that the company involved in the incident, Aqua Ohio, is a company that has been previously cited for two serious violations in 2013 regarding not having a means of egress (i.e. a way out of a trench) and for not having the dirt far enough from the trench to prevent a collapse. Aqua Ohio paid more than $5,000 in penalties.

According to the OSHA spokesperson, Aqua Ohio had another violation in 2004 with flagger controlling traffic violations. The company paid a $1,000 penalty then.

Aqua Ohio said in a statement on Tuesday that the company would conduct an investigation and work with OSHA to learn more details about the incident.