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Region 1 News Release: 11-1529-BOS/BOS 2011-362
Oct. 26, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department secures decision affirming OSHA citations and fines
against Danbury, Conn., contractor for cave-in hazards
Sand Cut Properties LLC ordered to pay more than $137,000 in penalties

BOSTON – The independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld willful and serious citations and $137,200 in fines issued by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Commission to Sand Cut Properties LLC, a Danbury, Conn., contractor.

OSHA cited Sand Cut Properties in November 2008 after inspectors at a Brookfield, Conn., work site found an employee working in a collapsing 6- to 9-foot-deep excavation that lacked cave-in protection and had piles of excavated materials overhanging its edge as well as water seeping into its bottom. The employee was exposed to an additional crushing hazard when he exited the excavation by riding in the bucket of an excavator. The citations and fines reflected the seriousness of the violations and the employer's knowledge of and failure to prevent the cave-in hazards.

The company contested the willful violations cited and accompanying fines to the review commission in December 2008. A hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Dennis L. Phillips on June 28, 2011. On Sept. 22, Judge Phillips issued a decision affirming the citations and ordering Sand Cut Properties to pay $137,200 in fines. The decision will become a final order on Nov. 10 if Sand Cut does not appeal to the commission.

"This was an imminent danger situation that could have resulted in a fatality and should not have existed in the first place," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "This decision should remind employers in Connecticut and elsewhe