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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 Release Number: 10-1483-BOS/BOS 2010-440
Nov. 1, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074


US Labor Department's OSHA cites National Grid for cave-in
and struck-by hazards following injury at Boston worksite

BRAINTREE, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited National Grid for six alleged serious violations of trenching safety standards after an employee was injured by a falling rock during the June 21 collapse of a gas line trench at 14 Woodbine Ave. in Boston, Mass. The utility company faces a total of $36,500 in proposed fines.

OSHA found that the trench, in which employees were performing welding work, lacked protection against a collapse of its walls, exposing workers to being struck by falling rocks and soil. Workers in the trench were also exposed to being struck by undermined and unsupported sections of concrete curbing located above the trench. In addition, workers had not been trained to recognize and avoid trenching hazards, and the trench had not been inspected by a competent person with the knowledge to identify such hazards.

"This is precisely the type of incident OSHA's excavation standards are designed to prevent," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "A competent inspection would have identified and allowed these hazardous conditions to be fixed before workers ever entered the trench. I urge employers to prevent incidents such as this one by always following proper procedures and ensuring effective trenching safeguards at all jobsites."

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 trenching hazards and safeguards is available online at

National Grid 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 Braintree Area Office, telephone 617-565-6924. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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


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