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OSHA Regional News Brief
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Region 2


Please note: As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

 

Nov. 24, 2015 BOS 2015-218

 

Gravedigger engulfed in cave-in of unguarded grave at Long Island cemetery
OSHA proposes $123K in fines for St. John Cemetery Corp.

Employer name: St. John Cemetery Corp., 80-01 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, New York 11379, which owns and operates five cemeteries throughout the greater New York City area.

Reason for inspection:  An employee of St. Charles/Resurrection Cemeteries in Farmingdale, New York, was seriously injured on May 7, 2015, when the walls of the grave opening in which he was working collapsed and buried him up to his waist.

Investigation findings: An inspection by the Long Island Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the excavation and its support systems lacked adequate protection against cave-ins and the excavation had not been inspected to identify such deficiencies. Other hazards included damaged equipment and the placement of excavated soil on the edge of the unprotected trench. These conditions exposed employees to the hazards of cave-in, engulfment and struck-by injuries.

Citations issued: OSHA cited the company on Nov. 5, 2015, for two willful and three serious violations of workplace safety standards.

Proposed penalties: $123,200

Quote: "This worker literally came close to an early grave because the cemetery failed to provide proper excavation protections. This cave-in could have been prevented if proper and legally required trenching safety procedures had been followed by the employer," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long island area director. "It is imperative that St. John Cemetery Corp. ensure that workers at all its cemeteries are protected against cave-in hazards and ensure that an incident such as this does not happen again in the future."

Link to citations: Here.

Next: St. John Cemetery Corp., has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Information: To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Long Island Area Office at 516-334-3344.

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Media Contact:
Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075  fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

Release Number: 15-2240-NEW


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