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Region 1 News Release: 10-85-BOS/BOS 2010-043
Mon., Jan. 25, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Bridgeport, Conn., contractor for cave-in hazard at Stamford, Conn., worksite

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A lack of cave-in protection at a Stamford, Conn., worksite has led to $47,700 in proposed fines for a Bridgeport water and sewer contractor. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Anthony Julian Railroad Construction Co. Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a Stamford worksite.

The contractor was installing a storm sewer catch basin at West Avenue and Selleck Street in Stamford when an OSHA inspector observed a company employee entering an apparently unprotected excavation. An inspection was opened on the spot and found that the 9-foot, 6-inch deep excavation lacked protection against a collapse of its sidewalls.

In addition, the sidewalk above the excavation was undermined and workers in the excavation were not protected against loose and broken rock falling into the excavation. Workers on the ground also lacked adequate protection against being struck by oncoming traffic.

"An unprotected excavation can become a grave in seconds. A cave-in can crush and bury workers beneath tons of rock and soil before they have a chance to react or escape," said Kang Yi, OSHA's acting area director in Bridgeport. "Workers should never be directed to enter an excavation until it is properly and effectively protected against collapse."

As a result of its inspection, OSHA has issued the company one willful citation, with a fine of $42,000, for the unprotected excavation and three serious citations with $5,700 in fines for the remaining hazards. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health, while