A construction company owner and an employee were charged with manslaughter Friday in connection with a trench collapse in Connecticut last year that killed a 56-year-old worker.
Vernon police said they arrested Dennis Botticello, 67, owner of Manchester-based Botticello Inc., and equipment operator Glen Locke, 65. Both were charged with first-degree manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges, and were detained on $50,000 bail pending court hearings on Monday.
No trench collapse safety devices were being used July 22 when a section of the 8-feet deep trench collapsed onto Botticello Inc. worker Dennis Slater, police and workplace safety officials said. Slater, of East Windsor, died from his injuries.
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The trench had collapsed two previous times the same day as it was being dug to install piping for a housing development in Vernon, officials said. Although the company had “trench boxes” for preventing collapses, it did not use them on July 22 and did not have a ladder leading out of the trench within 25 feet of workers as required, police and safety officials said.
In January, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommended $375,000 in penalties for safety violations connected to the collapse. The agency said federal safety standards require protective systems for trenches deeper than 5 feet, amid other requirements.
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OSHA also had cited Botticello Inc. for four serious trenching violations in 2015, in another town.
“This deadly cave-in and the worker’s death should never have happened,” OSHA Area Director Dale Varney said in a statement in January.
It was not immediately clear if Botticello and Locke had lawyers who could respond to the allegations. Phone messages were left at Botticello Inc. and a number for Locke on Friday.
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