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Region 1 News Release: 07-521-BOS/BOS 2007-098
April 24, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that they must provide cave-in protection whenever their employees work in excavations five feet or deeper.
The warning from the workplace safety agency's Bridgeport Area Office follows its investigation into the Jan. 10, 2007, death of an employee at the Tamarack Country Club, Greenwich, Conn., who was killed in a cave-in while installing drainage pipes in an unprotected six-foot deep trench on the club's golf course.
"I want all employers in southwestern Connecticut whose employees work in excavations to focus on this accident and take steps to ensure that this doesn't happen to their employees," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport.
OSHA's inspection found that the trench's walls had not been shored, sloped or otherwise protected against collapse. OSHA cited Tamarack and fined it $20,250 for seven violations of safety standards, including the unguarded trench, improper storage of excavated materials and lack of employee training. The country club has accepted the citations and agreed to correct all hazards, pay the fine, and develop and implement a safety and health program.
Excavation safety is a top priority for OSHA and an inspector will stop and open an inspection on the spot if he or she observes an apparently unprotected trench. Detailed information on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card" and an interactive eTool, is available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html.
"A trench can collapse and take a life in seconds," said Kowalski. "Yet trench collapses can be among the most avoidable of accidents if employers heed their responsibility to provide this clear, vital and legally required safeguard."
OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office, which covers Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex Counties, can be reached at (203) 579-5581.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces 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 www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.
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