Region 1 News Release: 10-1004-BOS/BOS 2010-319
Thurs., July 22, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites South Windsor, Conn., contractor,
for cave-in, trenching and fall hazards
HARTFORD, Conn. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Folsom Construction LLC, a South Windsor, Conn., contractor, for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a worksite in Rockville, Conn. The company faces a total of $61,800 in proposed fines.
"The gravity of this type of hazard cannot be understated," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's acting area director in Hartford. "The collapsing walls of a trench can crush or bury workers in seconds. That's why a trench must have effective cave-in protection in place and in use every time workers enter it. The alternative could be swift and serious injury or death."
OSHA inspectors opened the inspection on May 25 upon observing workers in an apparently unprotected trench at a water main installation site at the intersection of Union and Orchard streets. OSHA found that the trench lacked a protective system to prevent its walls from collapsing, thus exposing employees to potential cave-in hazards.
The workers in the trench were also exposed to being struck by loose rock or soil dropping from the face of the trench, and to cave-in and struck-by hazards from excavated soil and debris piled at the trench's edge. Finally, the trench lacked a safe means of egress, exposing workers to falls of up to 8 feet.
As a result of its findings, OSHA issued Folsom Construction one willful citation with a proposed fine of $42,000 for the lack of cave-in protection, one repeat citation with a fine of $8,400 for the struck-by hazard from the excavation's face, and three serious citations with $11,400 in fines for the remaining items. The repeat citation stemmed from a 2007 OSHA citation for a similar hazard at a Middletown, Conn., jobsite.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information on excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Folsom Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office, telephone 860-240-3152. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.