One boss just found out the hard way that it’s never a good idea to gamble with the safety of crew members.
Dennis Botticello, 67, owner of Botticello, Inc., Manchester, CT, has been arrested and charged with manslaughter for his role in the death of a worker at a Vernon, CT, job site in July 2022.
According to the arrest warrant, Botticello told employee Dennis Slater to keep working at the bottom of an unshored trench even though the walls of the excavation had previously collapsed.
Slater was laboring inside the trench while employee Glen Locke operated an excavator outside the hole. When the dirt around the excavation began to crumble, Slater couldn’t get out in time and the worker was later declared dead from blunt impact injuries to his head, torso and extremities.
After the incident, Locke admitted that a trench box was available for use at the site, but supervisors decided to take a chance. “The banks of the wall were holding up fine,” said Locke, who also faces a manslaughter charge. “I guess we just played the odds.”
(From the April 24, 2023, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)