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.