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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 News Release: 06-1215-BOS/BOS 2006-197
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

OSHA Cites Demolition Contractor following Fatal Holyoke Building Collapse
Two Inspections Result in $164,400 in Fines

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Associated Building Wreckers Inc. for alleged willful and serious safety violations following a Jan. 19 building collapse in Holyoke that killed one worker and seriously injured another. The Springfield demolition contractor was also cited for hazards at a Chicopee job site.

In Holyoke, four employees of Associated Building Wreckers Inc. were performing demolition operations on the fourth floor of 12 Main St., a building in disrepair, when the roof, fourth floor and part of the third floor collapsed. OSHA officials found that the company had not adequately shored or braced portions of the damaged building in which the employees were working, and that the employees lacked fall protection when they were working on the roof. Two willful citations carrying $84,000 in proposed fines were issued for these conditions.

Ten serious citations with $30,900 in fines were issued because the company failed to do the following: conduct a pre-demolition engineering survey to determine the building's condition and the possibility of its collapse; properly erect shoring towers; determine the strength and stability of working surfaces; leave a leaning wall in a stable condition; instruct workers in the recognition of unsafe conditions; provide fall protection for an employee tethered to an aerial lift while on the roof; supply guardrails, protect against falling debris and have a fire-protection program.

"Employers specializing in demolition work are well aware of its inherent dangers," said Mary E. Hoye, OSHA's area director for western Massachusetts. "This case exemplifies the high cost paid by workers when basic precautions and safeguards are ignored."

Associated Building Wreckers Inc. was also cited for hazards at a work site located on Center Street in Chicopee. In that case, the company was issued a willful citation with a $42,000 penalty for fall hazards from six unguarded skylight openings. The company also received three serious citations with proposed fines of $7,500 for missing warning lines, material dropped into unprotected areas and no curbs to prevent equipment from rolling into skylight openings.

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 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 the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Springfield area office, telephone (413) 785-0123.

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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