Company in fatal Boston trench collapse fined $1.4M, cited for 18 violations

BOSTON (WHDH) - The company that employed two men who died in a trench collapse in Boston has been fined $1.4 million and cited for 18 violations.

Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks died on Oct. 21, 2016, when a 12-foot trench in which they were working in collapsed. As a result, an adjacent fire hydrant supply line broke and filled the trench with water in a matter of seconds.

Atlantic Drain Service “failed to provide basic safeguards against collapse and did not train its employees,” an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found.

The inspection determined that Atlantic Drain and owner Kevin Otto, who oversaw the work on the day of the fatalities, did not:

  • Install a support system to protect employees in an approximately 12-foot deep trench from a cave-in and prevent the adjacent fire hydrant from collapsing.
  • Remove employees from the hazardous conditions in the trench.
  • Train the workers in how to identify and address hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.
  • Provide a ladder at all times so employees could exit the trench.
  • Support structures next to the trench that posed overhead hazards.
  • Provide employees with hardhats and eye protection.

A grand jury indicted the company and Otto on two counts each of manslaughter and other charges in connection with the deaths in February.

OSHA cited Atlantic Drain trenching work sites for similar hazards in in 2007 and 2012.

To view a full list of citations, click here.

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