Development firm proprietor receives jail sentence after employee dies in trench collapse

Seattle — The proprietor of a West Seattle development firm has been sentenced to 45 days in jail for his function in a deadly trench collapse, in response to the Washington State Division of Labor & Industries.

Phillip Numrich pleaded responsible to tried reckless endangerment after a Washington L&I investigation discovered that the proprietor of Alki Development “knowingly ignored fundamental, commonsense security guidelines,” resulting in the demise of 36-year-old worker Harold Felton. Numrich was dealing with a felony cost of second-degree manslaughter.

Felton was trying to assist exchange a sewer line at a house in West Seattle in January 2016 when the 8- to 10-foot-deep trench he was working in collapsed, burying him in about 6,000 kilos of mud and sand. The investigation revealed that Numrich had provided sufficient shoring to guard solely two of the ditch’s 4 sides from collapse, regardless of current heavy rains that made the ditch extra unstable. Additionally, no ladder was out there for employees to make use of to enter or exit the ditch, in response to an company press launch.

Washington L&I states that Numrich informed investigators he knew employees have been digging in rain-saturated type C soil, however it was the staff’ accountability to grasp the hazards and decide when shore boards have been wanted.

A Washington State Supreme Court decision in February 2021 cleared the best way for the case to be prosecuted. Along with the jail sentence, Numrich was sentenced to 18 months of probation that limits his contact with Felton’s household and the work the corporate is allowed to carry out. The corporate pleaded responsible to violations of the Washington Industrial Safety & Health Act and pays a $25,000 penalty, which is along with a superb issued by Washington L&I in 2016 in reference to its investigation.

“Employers should be held accountable once they put their employees’ lives in danger,” Washington L&I Director Joel Sacks mentioned within the launch. “Trench security requirements have been in place because the ’70s. There’s no excuse to justify ignoring them or some other office security necessities.”

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