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Region 1 News Release: 11-140-BOS/BOS 2011-038
Feb. 7, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
E-mail: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites North Branford, Conn., contractor
for failing to provide cave-in protection at Stratford, Conn., jobsite
Cherry Hill Construction faces more than $53,000 in proposed fines

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cherry Hill Construction Co. Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following an OSHA inspection of a worksite in front of 370 Bruce Ave. in Stratford, where the company was installing a catch basin cover. The North Branford contractor faces a total of $53,460 in proposed fines.

OSHA's inspection found a Cherry Hill Construction employee working in an excavation deeper than 5 feet that lacked proper protection against a collapse of its sidewalls as well as a ladder or other safe means of exit. The worker also was exposed to being struck by the bucket of an excavator that was placing gravel in the excavation.

"The unprotected walls of an excavation can collapse in seconds, stunning and crushing workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Employers must never allow an employee to face such a dangerous situation. Before a worker enters, each excavation must be effectively protected."

OSHA cited the company in 2008 and 2009 for excavation hazards at worksites in North Branford and Orange, Conn., respectively, and in 2008 for lacking safe exit access from an excavation at a North Branford worksite. As a result of these recurring conditions, the employer has been issued two repeat citations with $48,510 in proposed fines for the latest hazards. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Cherry Hill Construction Co. Inc. also has been issued one serious citation with a $4,950 fine for failing to prohibit an employee from working under and within the swing radius of the excavator bucket. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on hazards and safeguards related to trenching and excavation is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Cherry Hill Construction Co. Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office; telephone 203-579-5581. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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