Bigfork Company Fined After Trench Collapse

By Beacon Staff

BIGFORK (AP) – A Bigfork excavation company has been fined $76,000 for failing to meet workplace safety standards after an employee was buried when the trench he was working in collapsed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began investigating Zavala Excavating and Orchard, Inc., after the October accident.

Abel Morillon was installing a sewer line near an RV park when one side of the ditch collapsed. The 31-year-old Morillon was trapped for as long as 10 minutes. He was put in an intensive care unit and has since been moved to a rehabilitation center in Coeur d’Alene.

OSHA regulations require a trench box when digging deeper than 5 feet. Investigators found trenches at the work site as deep as 12 feet.

Zavala Excavating owner Roberto Zavala says in the more than 20 years he’s been in business, this type of incident has never happened before with the company.