Region 1 News Release: 09-1192-BOS/BOS 2009-330
Tues., Oct. 6, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Weymouth, Mass., contractor faces $35,000 in fines from U.S. Labor Department's OSHA for unguarded excavation at Ayer, Mass., worksite
ANDOVER, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a $35,000 fine against Annese Electric of Weymouth, Mass., for an alleged willful violation of excavation safety standards at a worksite at the intersection of Jackson Road and Buena Vista Street in Ayer, Mass.
OSHA's inspection found Annese Electric employees installing electrical conduits for telecommunications lines in a 7-foot deep trench that lacked protection against a collapse of its sidewalls into the trench. The workers in the trench faced the imminent dangers of crushing injuries or death if a collapse occurred.
"An unprotected trench is a potential grave," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "Its walls can collapse suddenly and with great force, burying workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they can react or escape. The fact that no collapse had yet occurred in no way relieves the employer of the responsibility to provide and ensure this basic and legally required safeguard."
As a result of its inspection, OSHA has issued Annese Electric one willful citation for the unprotected trench. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
OSHA standards require that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapses before workers enter them. Detailed information on excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Annese Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the finding before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Boston North Area Office in Andover; telephone 978-837-4460.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.