Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

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OSHA News Release
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Region 1


Please note: Information in some news releases may be out of date or may no longer reflect OSHA policy.
Region 1 News Release: 08-658-BOS/BOS 2008-145
Thurs., May 15, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074


Middletown., R.I., contractor faces nearly $60,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for cave-in hazard at Newport, R.I., worksite

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited J.A.M. Construction Co. Inc. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a Newport, R.I., worksite. The Middletown, R.I., contractor faces a total of $59,500 in proposed fines.

The citations and penalties resulted from OSHA's April 15 inspection of a water line installation at the Cluny School on Brenton Road. The inspection found J.A.M. Construction employees working in an excavation deeper than 6 feet that lacked adequate protection against cave-ins. OSHA standards require that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

"The hazard here was imminent and potentially deadly," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's area director in Providence. "The walls of an excavation can collapse instantly, burying or crushing employees before they can react or escape. While it is fortunate that no collapse occurred, protecting employees against cave-ins cannot and must never be a matter of luck."

OSHA consequently has issued to J.A.M. Construction one willful citation, carrying a proposed fine of $49,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The agency also has issued the company one repeat citation, with a $6,000 fine, for storing excavated material less than 2 feet from the edge of the excavation. OSHA had cited the company in September 2007 for a similar hazard at a Middletown jobsite.

Additionally, OSHA has issued J.A.M. Construction two serious citations, with $4,500 in fines, for inadequate support for an undermined stone wall crossing the top of the excavation, as well as no protective helmets for employees working in the excavation. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety, including an e-Tool, is also available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Providence Area Office; telephone 401-528-4669.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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.


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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.