The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Nashua, NH contractor for repeat and serious safety violations at a Massachusetts utility installation work site. Newport Construction faces $30,310 in proposed fines for trenching hazards at the site. OSHA standards require that trenches, or excavation, five feet or deeper be protected against collapse.
Inspectors from OSHA were driving by the intersection on the border of Bedford and Burlington to another work site when they observed the employees working in an unprotected excavation. Immediately, an inspection was opened and the trench was found to lack cave-in protection, as well as a way for workers to exit the trench safely and swiftly in the event of an emergency.
OSHA issued Newport Construction $28,000 in fines for two repeat violations. A repeat violation exists when an employer has previously been cited for the same or similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Newport was previously cited in October of 2008 for similar violations.
OSHA’s area director said, “An unguarded trench is an imminent danger situation. It can collapse and bury workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape. Given this employer’s prior violations, it is vital for the safety and well-being of its workers that it take prompt, effective and ongoing action.”
Newport was also cited for a serious violation for not marking lifting slings with the maximum weight limit they can safely lift. When a weight limit is not indicated, employees are exposed to crushing hazards if the slings are over capacity and fall while lifting the load. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
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.
Employers Take Care – OSHA is Everywhere, WorkersCompensation.com, October 9, 2012