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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 News Release: 06-881-BOS/BOS 2006-149
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

Hampton, N.H., Cave-In Hazards Prompt OSHA Fines for Contractor

CONCORD, N.H. -- A Stoughton, Mass., contractor faces a total of $54,500 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor¿s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for unguarded excavations and other hazards identified during the installation of a storm water line in Hampton, N.H.

R. Zoppo Corp. was cited for one alleged willful and three alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following OSHA inspections of various excavations located on and near Ocean Boulevard. OSHA opened its investigation on March 14, after an OSHA inspector observed employees working in unprotected excavations at 9B and 14 Ocean Blvd.

"These workers were exposed to a real and potentially deadly hazard, since an excavation can collapse without warning, stunning and burying workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they can react or escape," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA¿s New Hampshire area director. "While it is fortunate that these unguarded excavations did not collapse, worker safety can never be left to chance. Cave-in protection is a necessary and required safeguard."

As a result, R. Zoppo Corp. was issued a willful citation with a proposed fine of $49,500 for the two unguarded Ocean Boulevard excavations. The company was also issued three serious citations with $5,000 in fines for an unguarded trench and uninspected rigging equipment at a work site at 16 O St. and no warning vests for employees exposed to vehicular traffic while working at an excavation located at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and M Street.

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. 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.

All excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse. OSHA maintains detailed information for employers and workers on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card," on its Web site at

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.

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 workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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