OSHA investigating Boise trench collapse

Posted at 10:40 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2019-04-12 14:43:36-04

A deadly trench collapse that took place in Boise Tuesday night is now under investigation by OSHA.

The Ada County Coroner’s Office has identified the two men killed when a trench collapsed, burying them near the corner of Gary Ln. and Hill Rd.  They are 36-year-old Bert A. Smith, Jr. of Caldwell and 26-year-old Ernesto Saucedo-Zapata of Nampa.

“It’s a sad outcome for the community.  Two people lost their lives last night trying to just go to work and provide for their families,” said Boise Fire Department Special Operations Division Chief Paul Roberts.

OSHA has been investigating the incident since it happened Tuesday night.  They say the construction company owner is cooperating with them fully.

“We’re basically looking to see if there were any violations of the safety rules by the employers involved and, if there were any violations of safety rules, then we have six months, basically, for us to issue any citations to them,” said OSHA Area Director David Kearns.

At this point investigators won’t go into any details about this specific incident. In the late 1980s OSHA passed rules regarding trench and excavation safety.  Since then, officials say the number of deaths related to trench accidents have dropped by close to 35 percent.

“You know this is a tragedy, and these are almost always preventable,” Kearns said.