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Shifting pile of coal killed two workers at Colorado facility, feds say. Company fined

  • Dec 5, 2022
Charlotte Observer

After two workers were killed by a pile of shifting coal at a Colorado industrial loading facility, the Utah-based company has now been cited, federal labor officials said.

In June, three Savage Services Corporation employees in Pueblo “climbed onto the coal pile to determine if the feeder below was receiving coal,” according to a Dec. 5 news release from the U.S. Department of Labor. “The pile shifted,” burying two workers.

The two workers were killed, while the other escaped without being harmed, the release said.

Savage Services Corporation did not immediately return McClatchy News’ request for comment on Dec. 5.

“We are devastated that the deaths of two of our Team Members have been confirmed, resulting from an incident that occurred the coal yard Savage operates and maintains for Xcel Energy at its Comanche power plant,” Savage Services Corporation said in a statement at the time of incident, KOAA News5 reported. “Out hearts and prayers go out to the families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones, and we are working to provide support for the families and our Team Members at the site.”

The men killed were Kyle Bussey, 28, of Pueblo and Phillip Roberts, 36, of Canon City, The Denver Post reported in June.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company “for one serious violation and two willful violations for failing to implement safe work practices and for not training workers as required,” the release said.

“The company faces $304,556 in proposed penalties,” according to the release.

A similar incident happened at a New Mexico facility in December 2020, wherein a coal pile fell onto a bulldozer, trapping the operator, the release said. The employee was rescued an hour later.

“A near-tragedy at another Savage Services Corporation facility in 2020 made the company acutely aware of the serious hazards for those working around coal piles and yet, two workers’ families, friends and co-workers are now left to grieve,” OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian said in the release.

Had the company employed “standard safety practices” and properly trained staff, “the company could have prevented this terrible incident,” Vivian added.

Savage Services Corporation, based in Midvale, Utah, has more than 200 locations nationwide, as well as facilities internationally, according to the release,

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©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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