OSHA Proposes $55,660 in fines for Dracut Contractor

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited DeFelice, Inc for alleged willful and serious safety violations at a Nashua, N.H. work site. The contractor faces a total of $55,660 in proposed fines for excavation and other hazards.

OSHA inspectors watched an employee working in an inadequately guarded excavation that was more than eight feet deep. OSHA standards require that trenches or excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse.

This resulted in a willful citation carrying a fine of $38,500. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The OSHA area director stated, “An inadequately protected excavation can collapse in seconds, resulting in severe or fatal consequences for any employee in the excavation. For the safety of their workers, employers must ensure that effective cave-in protection is in place at all times at all work sites.”

The inspection also found that the excavation lacked a ladder or any other safe means to exit, and the workers had no protections against being struck by materials falling into the hole. Also the steel-chain sling used to lift and move materials was damaged and uninspected, an employee working in the zone of traffic was not wearing a reflective vest, and no employees at the work site were trained to address hazards.

These conditions resulted in seven serious citations carrying $17,160 in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability of death of serious harm from the hazard and 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.

Cited Sources:

US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Dracut, Mass., contractor, proposes $55,660 in fines for excavation, other safety hazards at Nashua, NH, work site, OSHA.gov, January 8, 2013

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