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No workplace violation issued for Preston first selectman's tree injury

By Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published June 20. 2013 9:00PM   Updated June 20. 2013 11:55PM

Preston — The state Department of Labor will not issue a violation citation to the town in its investigation into First Selectman Robert Congdon's recent injury, suffered when he was struck by a tree limb while clearing a downed limb on River Road.

But the department's Division of Occupational Safety and Health found town procedures inadequate and recommended two changes.

Congdon, who is also public works director, was cutting a downed tree limb on River Road on May 16 and was struck by another limb.

Congdon was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital, then flown by helicopter to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was in the intensive care unit for three days. He suffered several broken ribs and internal bleeding in his sternum.

A letter received by the town Thursday from Kenneth C. Tucker III, director of Conn-OSHA, recommended at least two trained and properly equipped personnel respond to any hazardous incident, and if a job is too difficult for the responding crews, they should barricade the area and "acquire the services of a professional tree crew."

Before receiving the Conn-OSHA report, Congdon had recommended a change to town policies to require at least two employees respond to any incident, "no matter how routine."

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