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OSHA News Release
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Region 1


November 10, 2022

 

US Department of Labor cites two contractors for demolition, asbestos hazards after mezzanine collapse at former South Boston power plant

NorthStar Contracting Group Inc., Suffolk Construction Inc. face $691K in OSHA fines

BRAINTREE, MA – On May 5, 2022, an employee of an Everett demolition contractor lost his legs when a concrete mezzanine platform on the west wall of a building at the former Boston Edison power plant in South Boston collapsed during demolition and asbestos abatement operations. Two other workers suffered injuries as well.

Inspections by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that NorthStar Contracting Group Inc. and the project's Boston-based general contractor, Suffolk Construction Inc., failed to ensure adequate demolition and asbestos safeguards for their employees.

OSHA issued citations to NorthStar Contracting for three willful violations, four serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation of workplace safety standards. The agency proposed $399,864 in penalties. Specifically, OSHA found NorthStar failed to:

  • Conduct an engineering survey to determine the condition of the mezzanine and framing, and floors and walls during demolition operations to avoid the possibility of unplanned collapse.
  • Ensure a designated competent person performed or supervised required duties in the asbestos containment area, such as regular and frequent jobsite inspections, protecting the integrity of the enclosure and setting up and maintaining control of personnel entering the area.
  • Conspicuously post the safe weight load limit on the mezzanine floor where demolition and asbestos debris was being stored.
  • Train employees adequately to recognize and avoid collapse, struck-by, and crushing hazards.
  • Ensure employees entering and working in regulated asbestos containment areas wore respirators and did not have facial hair or beards that came between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face and/or interfered with valve function.
  • Remove asbestos containing waste by end of shift.
  • Provide OSHA 300 logs to investigators within four business hours.

OSHA also issued two willful and three serious citations to Suffolk Construction and proposed $292,116 in penalties for the company's failure to:

  • Inspect the contractor's work in the asbestos regulated containment area to ensure compliance with all aspects of the asbestos standard.
  • Ensure employees wearing respirators inside regulated asbestos containment areas did not have facial hair that came between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face and/or interfered with valve function.
  • Have a plan in place to prevent an unplanned collapse of the mezzanine.
  • Conspicuously post the safe weight load limit on the mezzanine floor where demolition and asbestos debris was being stored.
  • Provide frequent and regular inspections inside the asbestos control area of the mezzanine.

"The employers in this case exposed employees to the immediate hazard of structural collapse and the potential long-term consequences of asbestos exposure. These hazards are preventable and employers can control and eliminate them. Had they ensured proper planning – including engineering surveys and frequent and regular jobsite inspections, effective safety procedures, personal protective equipment and employee training – was in place, this incident and the violations that followed might have been avoided," explained OSHA Area Director James Mulligan in Braintree, Massachusetts.

View the NorthStar Contracting Group Inc. citations. View the Suffolk Construction Inc. citations.

Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA, demolition, cleanup and asbestos in construction work.

Employers can also contact OSHA for information about compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

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Media Contacts:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Release Number:  22-2073-BOS