Owner of company in fatal Boston trench collapse arraigned on manslaughter

The owner of a drain company was arraigned on manslaughter Thursday after two of his employees were killed in a trench collapse last October.

Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks, who worked for Atlantic Drain Services, both drowned when the trench they were working in flooded after a water main break in the South End.

Prosecutors said owner Kevin Otto was on site when the trench collapsed. Despite knowing how dangerous working in the trench was, prosecutors said Otto neglected to provide protection for his workers. Advocates for workplace safety demonstrated outside court, saying this is an example of why the state needs to watch employers and job sites more closely.

“He feels terrible for what happened. It’s tragic, he was there when it occurred. These are people who he worked with, I can’t imagine what it would be like to work with somebody and then have them perish in front of you,” said Camille Sarrouff, the attorney representing the company.

Otto is also accused of altering records to claim that his workers had undergone safety training and received protective gear when they had not.

The trial is set to start in February 2018. While Otto faces jail time, Atlantic Drain Services only faces a fine.

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