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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 News Release: 06-1044-BOS /BOS 2006-169
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075

Excavation Hazards at Weymouth Worksite Bring Citations and Fines Totaling $66,150 for Taunton Contractor

WEYMOUTH, Mass. -- A Taunton, Mass. contractor's alleged failure to protect employees from trenching and excavation hazards has resulted in proposed penalties of $66,150 following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

G Lopes Construction Inc. was cited for one alleged willful and one alleged serious violation of safety standards following an inspection by OSHA's Braintree area office on March 23. An OSHA inspector passing by the jobsite on Main Street in Weymouth observed an employee working on a water main inside a 6-foot-8-inch deep trench that lacked protection against a collapse of its sidewalls.

"Workers must be safeguarded from cave-ins while working in excavations 5 feet or deeper," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "A sudden collapse can stun and bury workers beneath tons of soil without the opportunity to escape. Fortunately, no one was injured in this case."

G Lopes Construction was issued one willful citation for failing to provide adequate protection from cave-ins. Additionally, one serious citation was issued for placing excavated spoils within 2 feet of the edge of the trench.

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.

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.

Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact OSHA's Braintree area office at (617) 565-6924. A toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.

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 Detailed information on excavation safety, including a trenching "Quick Card", is available for employers and workers on OSHA's Web site at:


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