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Niagara Falls Contractor Fined for Excavation Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Accadia Site Contracting Inc. for willful and serious excavation safety violations in Niagara Falls. The violations amount to a proposed fine of $84,000.
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OSHA witnessed workers in a seven-foot deep excavation that lacked proper protection to prevent cave-ins, as well as the requisite amount of ladders to allow quick and safe exit from the excavation. Also, eight inches of water had accumulated in the bottom of the excavation, making the risk of collapse more likely.

The OSHA area director stated, “An unprotected excavation can turn into a grave in seconds, crushing and burying workers beneath tons of soil before they have an opportunity to react or escape. These workers were fortunate–not lucky, because workplace safety must never be dependent on luck–that they were not injured or killed.”

OSHA issued a willful citation for the unprotected excavation, which carries a fine of $70,000. OSHA also issued two serious citations for the water and ladder hazards, which carries a combined fine of $14,000.

The director also said, “The coming of warmer weather and the accompanying thaw of the soil bring with them an increase in excavation work. Unfortunately, it also brings an increase in cave-in hazards and unsafe work practices. Before any employee enters an excavation to perform work, the employer must ensure that the excavation is properly safeguarded against collapse, the employees are trained to recognize and avoid cave-in hazards and all required equipment is present and properly maintained.”

Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.

Cited Sources:

US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Accadia Site Contracting Inc., proposes$84,000 in fines for cave-in hazard at Lewiston Road work site in Niagara Falls: OSHA reminds western NY contractors of employer duty to protect workers in excavation, osha.gov, May 23, 2013

Lewiston Road contractor facing fines from OSHA, Niagara Gazette, May 23, 2013

 

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