Jan. 17, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
CONCORD, N.H. -- Powershot Utility Construction Services LLC of Nashua faces $64,700 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged cave-in hazards at a North Conway worksite. The contractor was cited for four alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety standards following a September inspection at a water main installation site on the White Mountain Highway.
OSHA's inspection found employees working in a nine-foot-deep trench that lacked protection against a collapse of its sidewalls. This resulted in one willful citation, carrying $56,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
"This employer knows that all excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse, yet failed to do so despite having been cited for the same hazard one month before this latest inspection," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Failure to provide cave-in protection exposed employees to imminent and potentially fatal crushing and suffocation hazards."
One repeat citation, with a proposed $6,000 fine, was issued for locating the trench's access ladder in an unprotected area of the trench. OSHA cited the company for a similar hazard in August 2006. Powershot also received two serious citations, with $2,700 in proposed fines, for employees in the trench working beneath undermined asphalt and an unsupported concrete slab and for not using a trench box according to its manufacturer's specifications.
A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for a similar hazard and that citation has become final.
Detailed information on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card," is available for employers and employees on OSHA's Web site at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Concord area office, phone (603) 225-1629.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.