US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.
Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 1 News Release:    06-1225-BOS/BOS 2006-195
Monday, July 17, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

OSHA Cites Hamden Contractor Following North Haven Trench Collapse

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A Hamden, Conn., contractor faces $88,200 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a trench cave-in in North Haven, Conn., that partially buried an employee. J.T. Furrey Inc. was cited for a total of six alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards.

On Feb. 1, a section of a 6-foot-deep sewer-excavation trench at 399 Sackett Point Road collapsed. The employee working in the trench was pinned to his midsection and also struck by a falling section of pavement. OSHA's inspection found that the trench lacked cave-in protection and a safe means of exit, while piles of excavated spoils were placed less than 2 feet from the trench's edge. Additionally, weakened pavement surrounding the trench was not removed or supported to protect employees.

As a result of these conditions, J.T. Furrey Inc. was issued four willful citations, carrying $84,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

"This accident is a graphic example of what can and does happen when required cave-in protection is not supplied," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director for southwestern Connecticut. "A trench's sidewalls can collapse swiftly and with great force, trapping and crushing workers before they have a chance to escape. It's sheer luck that no fatality occurred in this case, but safety cannot, and should never be, a matter of chance."

The company was also issued two serious citations and fined an additional $4,200 for not instructing employees to recognize and avoid trenching hazards and for not protecting and supporting underground gas lines against damage. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA standards require that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card," is available for employers and workers on OSHA's Web site 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 the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport, Conn., area office, telephone (203) 579-5579.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 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 working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit
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

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.