GRAND COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – Avon resident Bryan Johnson was sentenced by a judge to 10 months in prison on Wednesday. Johnson has faced manslaughter and negligent homicide charges following a collapse of a trench at his business site in Granby, which fatally injured worker Rosario Martinez.
Martinez, 50, was installing a water pipe at a residential construction site when the accident happened on June 14, 2018.
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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor, Martinez had been hired to do drywall and carpentry work by Johnson’s company, ContractOne, Inc., and has not been trained for digging or excavation work. The other employees present during the accident had not been trained in these areas of expertise either.
This despite the collapse of the same trench the day before, according to investigators.
“The evidence gathered during the OSHA investigation… reflects particularly egregious behavior,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Nancy Hauter. “Trenching is one of the most dangerous activities in the construction industry and Bryan Johnson has taken no positive steps to protect employees, despite repeated warnings that work activities on the job site were dangerous ”.
Martinez’s son also worked at the site, investigators said. He helped firefighters dig up his father.
Martinez died of his injuries at a nearby hospital.
In one Press release, OSHA said its investigators found ContractOne Inc., which is headquarters in Edwards, did not use a trench protection system, did not place the excavated piles of soil a safe distance from the edges of the trenches, did not provide ladders for evacuation, did not carry out regular site inspections and failed to use proper utility location procedures during trenching operations.
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“Safety and health are paramount and take precedence over production or profits,” said US Department of Labor regional attorney John Rainwater. “The department believes the facts of this case warrant the conviction and we support the district attorney’s efforts to hold Johnson accountable for failing to protect the workers in his care and supervision. Incarceration sends a strong message. We believe that criminal prosecution has the power to change the industry. “
Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of third degree assault causing bodily harm, all misdemeanors. He did so last month, almost three years to the day of the accident.
He was sentenced Wednesday, two days after his 53rd birthday.
The Grand County judge also ordered Johnson to pay Martinez’s family up to $ 25,000, make contributions to local charities, take safety training, allow inspectors to l ‘OSHA on-site and serve a three-year probation.
A Grand County Jail sergeant told CBS4 Johnson has until Jan. 2 to report to jail and begin serving his sentence.
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