Feb. 28, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
CONCORD, N.H. -- Two Hollis, N.H., contractors face a combined total of $81,800 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged cave-in hazards at a Nashua construction site.
The citations and fines result from OSHA inspections opened Aug. 23, 2006, when two OSHA inspectors passing by the Badger Street worksite observed employees working in an apparently unprotected trench. OSHA's inspection revealed that employees of Jennings Excavation, which was installing a water line, were working in two unprotected excavations, a 6.5 to 7.4-foot-deep catch basin and an 8.9 to 10-foot-deep building foundation.
Jennings was issued two willful citations, with $55,000 in proposed fines, for allowing employees to work in both unprotected excavations and for not providing a ladder or other safe means of exit from the catch basin. The contractor was also issued three serious citations, with an additional $3,500 in proposed fines, for not supporting an undermined sidewalk, failing to remove or support a power pole and no warning vests for employees exposed to vehicular traffic.
Ferd Construction, the controlling employer responsible for overall job safety on the project, was issued one willful citation, with a $21,000 proposed fine, for allowing unprotected trenches, and three serious citations, with another $2,300 in fines proposed, for lack of safe exit means from the catch basin and the unsupported sidewalk and power pole.
"An unguarded excavation can crush or kill employees within seconds," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "There's no excuse for failing to use this clear, common sense and legally required safeguard."
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. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
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, (603) 225-1629. Information on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card," is on OSHA's Web site at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
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.