US Labor Department's OSHA cites Dracut, Mass., contractor, proposes
$55,660 in fines for excavation, other safety hazards at Nashua, NH, work site
CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Dracut, Mass., contractor for alleged willful and serious safety violations at a Nashua, N.H., work site. DeFelice Inc. faces a total of $55,660 in proposed fines for excavation and other hazards at the 15 Prospect St. work site.
Inspectors from OSHA's Concord Area Office observed a DeFelice employee working in an inadequately guarded excavation that was more than 8 feet deep. OSHA standards require that trenches or excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. The absence of such protection in this case resulted in OSHA issuing DeFelice Inc. one willful citation with a $38,500 fine. 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.
"An inadequately protected excavation can collapse in seconds, resulting in severe or fatal consequences for any employee in the excavation," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "For the safety of their workers, employers must ensure that effective cave-in protection is in place at all times at all work sites."
OSHA's inspection also found that the excavation lacked a ladder or other safe means of exit, and the workers in the excavation were not protected against being struck by material falling into the hole. Additionally, a damaged and uninspected steel-chain sling was used to lift and move materials, an employee working in the traffic zone lacked a reflective vest and employees at the site were not trained to recognize and address hazards. These conditions resulted in the issuance of seven serious citations with $17,160 in fines. A serious violation occurs 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.
DeFelice Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Information on excavation hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Concord office at 603-225-1628.
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 ensure 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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.