Conn. Contractor Hit with Seven Serious Citations Following Fatal Cave-In

The death of a worker in a Shelton, Conn., trench collapse could have been prevented if the excavation had been properly guarded against collapse, according to OSHA.

On June 18, employees of Edwardo Osello Masonry LLC, a Bridgeport, Conn., contractor, were installing rebar inside an unprotected, 11-foot deep trench when a section of the trench wall collapsed, burying a worker. OSHA's inspection found that the trench lacked any form of cave-in protection.

"OSHA standards are clear. All excavations 5 feet or deeper must be protected against collapse," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's Bridgeport area director. "Options are available to employers, including shoring the excavation or using a protective trench box, but none were in use at this site."

In addition, OSHA alleges that:

  • The trench lacked a safe means of entry and exit;
  • Stairs leading to a deck adjacent to the trench were not protected against collapse;
  • Workers in the trench lacked head protection and were not protected against stones falling into the excavation; and
  • Daily inspections of the trench and the adjacent area were not conducted to identify unsafe conditions.

OSHA issued seven serious citations and proposed $20,100 in fines against Edwardo Osello Masonry for these conditions.

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