Colorado Public Works Journal, Summer 2023

18┃ Colorado Public Works Journal to structurally stabilize the initial access point,” continues Dornfest. “A lot of the engineering solutions require shoring and support of excavation, so safety is obviously a huge factor in everything we design.” Though most of the tunnels Lithos designs are less than 10’ in diameter, engineering the initial access can involve any combination of wood and steel falsework to form the roof and walls of the entrance. “The first thing we tell people entering a job site is ‘If you see something, say something’,” shares Dornfest of empowering all to stop work if an unsafe condition is spotted. “Nothing is worse than the loss of life. It only takes one slip, one bad call, and then someone must call a spouse or a loved one.” Dornfest points out that engineering is almost never a one-size-fits-all equation, and safety around excavations is no exception. “It’s important for contractors to understand that the construction means and methods have to be precisely married to the ground conditions in order to develop a solution that protects workers,” he says of the need to think critically about each excavation rather than simply doing something that was successful elsewhere. “With respect to safety, especially with respect to excavations and entering them, safety is everyone’s responsibility.” Kyle Delucero, Regional Customer Safety Trainer, Sunbelt Rentals As a leader in the equipment rental industry, Sunbelt Rentals is consistently advancing the idea of how to best serve customers, communities, and the planet. With a vast network of locations across North America and an expansive portfolio of products and services, Sunbelt Rentals delivers solutions for construction and industrial programs from more than 1,200 locations. Regional Customer Safety Trainer, Kyle Delucero, has been involved in utility and excavation construction for the entirety of his 25+-year career, spending about half of that time in trench safety equipment and OSHA training. “My role is training customers and Sunbelt’s staff on Excavation Competent Person and Confined Space Entry requirements. What I love about my work is helping people solve problems safely and efficiently,” says Delucero. “I predominantly work with contractors who install wet and dry utilities.” Like Hone before him, Delucero points to a spate of fatal incidents involving poor trench safety practices in Colorado and across the country in recent years as a wake-up call to the industry. “I think there could be a lot of reasons these preventable incidents happen – everything from negligence to communication barriers and inexperienced workers,” shares Delucero. “My biggest message to the workforce is no job is important enough to put yourself in danger during excavation work. The tools and methods to prevent accidents are readily available, and they work.” Delucero points out that contractors are responsible for what happens on their job site. When injuries or fatalities occur, the consequences can be more than financial and emotional. They can be criminal. “There have been several cases in Colorado in recent years that have been prosecuted