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Region 1 News Release: 05-2110-BOS/BOS 2005-308
Monday, October 31, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

OSHA Cites Bridgeport Contractor Following Fatal Cave-In at Shelton Site

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The death of a worker in a Shelton trench collapse could have been prevented if the excavation had been properly guarded against collapse, reports the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

On June 18, employees of Edwardo Osello Masonry, LLC, a Bridgeport contractor, were installing rebar inside an unprotected 11-foot deep trench at 23 Bruce Dr. 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 five 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 determined 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, LLC for these conditions. OSHA defines a serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.

OSHA offers detailed information on excavation safety on its Web site:

A "Quick Card" about trenching safety is available in English and Spanish at:

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport area office, telephone (203) 579-5581.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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