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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 News Release: 07-1804-BOS/BOS 2007-357
Tues., November 20, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Cave-in hazard at Sandwich, Mass., jobsite leads to $46,500 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for New York contractor

BRAINTREE, Mass. - A Wellsville, N.Y., contractor's alleged failure to provide adequate cave-in protection for employees working at a Sandwich, Mass., jobsite has resulted in $46,500 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Otis Eastern Services Inc. was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a natural gas pipeline excavation located at 1120 Sandwich Road, where OSHA inspectors found company employees working in a six feet deep, straight-walled trench that lacked protection against its walls collapsing.

The company consequently was issued one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $42,000, for the lack of cave-in protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

"A cave-in can be swift and deadly," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director in Braintree. "All excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse, and failure to ensure this basic, vital and legally required safeguard risks employees' lives and livelihoods."

The company also was issued two serious citations, with $4,500 in proposed fines, for unguarded grinders and lack of eye and face protection for employees using grinders. 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.

Gordon noted that OSHA has posted a trenching "Quick Card," an interactive eTool and other detailed information on excavation safety on its Web site at to help employers understand how to comply with regulations and protect employees.

Otis Eastern Services Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office (telephone 617-565-6924).

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 the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

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