• Owner of company at center of workers' drownings on trial for manslaughter

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh

    Updated:

    BOSTON - A devastating scene played out in Boston's South End three years ago this month when a trench collapsed and trapped two workers as water rose around them. 

    The owner of a construction company at the center tragedy is on trial after Those two workers drowned back in 2016.

    Prosecutors are making the case that his company, Atlantic Drain, had been placing its workers in harm's way for years.

    [Atlantic Drain allegedly had employees selling drugs on property]

    Kevin "Chuck" Mattocks and Robert Higgins died in the trench they working inside on Dartmouth Street. 

    Their employer, Kevin Otto, faces manslaughter charges. 

    On Tuesday, the second day of the trial, prosecutors say Otto had a history on endangering his employees in hazardous trenches, including one in June 2012. 

    Here's how a former Occupational Safety and Health officer described his inspection of that trench.

    "There were steam ducts in the trench that were undermined, there was water that had accumulated in the trench, there was some underlying pavement that had been excavated out," former OSHA safety officer David Dola said in court.

    As Boston 25 News has reported, OSHA labeled Atlantic Drain services as a willful violator of safety hazards and that in 2012, employees were exposed to the threat of a cave-in. 

    It's unclear whether Otto plans to take the stand in the trial. 

    [Owner of Atlantic Drain charged with manslaughter for employee deaths]

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