Region 1 News Release: 10-1666-BOS / BOS 2010-489
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites 3 Massachusetts contractors
for cave-in hazards at Salem, NH, jobsite
CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a total of $154,700 in proposed fines against three Massachusetts contractors for exposing workers to cave-in hazards at a Salem, N.H., worksite. Cited were Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc. of Wakefield, Majestic Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Tewksbury and Domenick Zanni Sons Inc. of Reading.
The cited companies had been contracted to install a grease trap and piping for a supermarket under construction on Route 28 in Salem, N.H. The OSHA inspection began in June when an agency official observed employees working in an unprotected 8-foot deep excavation that also lacked a ladder or other safe means of egress.
"The size of these proposed fines reflects the gravity of these hazards and the fact that two of the employers knew cave-in protection and a ladder were required, yet refused to provide these vital safeguards," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "The danger was real and present because the walls of an unguarded trench can collapse in seconds, striking and engulfing workers before they have a chance to react or escape."
For the cave-in and ladder hazards, Cardillo was issued two willful citations with $105,000 in fines, Majestic was issued two willful citations with $42,000 in fines and Zanni was issued two serious citations with $5,600 in fines. Cardillo and Majestic were also issued three other-than-serious citations each and fined $1,200 and $900, respectively, for inadequate recordkeeping. Cardillo faces a total of $106,200 in fines; Majestic, a total of $42,900; and Zanni, a total of $5,600.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious citation is issued 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. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA standards require that excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information of excavation safety hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Concord Area Office, telephone 603-225-1629. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA'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 assure 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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.