Region 1 News Release: 11-21-BOS/BOS 2011-015
Jan. 10, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Worcester, Mass., contractor
for failing to provide cave-in protection at Quincy, Mass., jobsite
BRAINTREE, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued JE Amorello Inc. willful and serious citations for exposing workers to trenching hazards at a Quincy, Mass., worksite located at 90 Quincy Shore Dr. The Worcester, Mass., contractor faces a total of $20,020 in proposed fines.
OSHA's inspection found Amorello employees working in a trench deeper than 8 feet that lacked proper shoring or sloping of its sidewalls to prevent them from collapsing onto the workers. As a result of this condition, OSHA has issued the company one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $15,400. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
"Employers know the unprotected walls of a trench can collapse suddenly and without warning, stunning and crushing workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "Even though no collapse occurred this time, allowing employees to enter and work in an unprotected trench is both dangerous and unacceptable."
The inspection also found that the trench did not have a ladder so workers could swiftly exit the trench, and that bricks and excavated material were stored at the edge of the trench wall. These conditions resulted in two serious citations with $4,620 in fines. OSHA issues a serious citation 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.
OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards and safeguards is available online to workers and employers at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
JE Amorello Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This latest inspection was conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office; telephone 617-565-6924. 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 news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.