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Region 1 BOS 2003-125
June 18, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074


Crushing and Fall Hazards at Lawrence, Mass., Demolition Site
Lead to $258,300 in Fines for Pawtucket, R.I., Contractor

METHUEN, Mass. -- A Pawtucket, Rhode Island, demolition contractor's failure to safeguard its workers against falling debris and falls of up to eight stories from a partially demolished building at a Lawrence, Mass., jobsite has resulted in $258,300 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Ogden International, Inc., of 141 Power Rd., Pawtucket, has been cited for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an inspection at the Everett Mills Demolition Project, 15 Union St., Lawrence. OSHA began its inspection on Dec. 18, 2002, after learning of fall hazards and other unsafe working conditions at the worksite.

"Demolition work is clearly hazardous and the safeguards required to protect workers are well-known," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "The Labor Department will not hesitate to use our maximum enforcement powers when employers willfully refuse to supply and ensure these basic protections."

OSHA's inspection found numerous life-threatening hazards, including employees working without fall protection at the edge of seventh and eighth floors of the partially demolished structure and workers exposed to falling debris while working directly beneath floors as they were being ripped out by a crane and while working beneath a wrecking ball as it razed the structure. The workers were not trained in fall hazards and the use of fall protection equipment nor in how to recognize and protect themselves from hazards inherent in building demolition.

Wall openings were not protected to prevent falls, rigging equipment was not inspected and labeled with its lifting capacity, employees were working without protective equipment and within the swing radius of a crane and a wrecking ball was not correctly attached to its rigging. Finally, the contractor did not conduct a pre-demolition survey to determine how to safely demolish the building and did not conduct ongoing inspections to gauge the building's structural integrity during the demolition (A breakdown of the citations and fines is attached.).

"This worksite could easily have become a graveyard, given this employer's failure to comply with basic, common sense safety requirements," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA's area director for northeastern Massachusetts. "Such blatant disregard for worker safety and health is unacceptable."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Methuen, Mass., area office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (617) 565-8110.

Summary of OSHA Citations and Proposed Fines to Ogden, International, Inc.

Four alleged willful violations, with $196,000 in proposed fines, for:
  • Employees not protected from falling approximately 7 to 8 stories while working in a partially demolished structure

  • Employees in the structure exposed to falling debris while working beneath live suspended loads during removal of floors

  • Failure to perform a pre-demolition engineering survey, thus exposing employees to the hazards of falling debris and an unexpected structure collapse

  • Employees exposed to falling debris while working beneath the wrecking ball

Ten alleged serious violations, with $42,700 in proposed fines, for:
  • Employees not trained in recognition of unsafe conditions and hazards inherent in building demolition

  • Failure to continually inspect the building for structural integrity.

  • Rigging equipment not labeled as to its lifting capacity and no record of rigging inspections

  • Personal fall arrest system not rigged to prevent employees from freefalling more than 6 feet

  • Employees exposed to being struck by a rotating crane while working within its swing radius

  • Employees exposed to fall hazards from unprotected wall openings

  • Wrecking ball not correctly connected to its rigging

  • Employees not wearing eye protection while using sledge hammers and while exposed to falling debris and airborne dust

  • Employees exposed to vehicular traffic not wearing clothing or vests to make them visible to drivers

  • Structural steel in or adjacent to walls not cut free prior to demolition

Two alleged repeat violations, with $19,600 in proposed fines, for:
  • Stair railing used as anchorage for personal fall arrest system incapable of supporting required weight.

  • Employees not trained in fall hazards and in the use of fall protection equipment [Ogden International, Inc. had previously been cited for substantially similar hazard in Oct.2001 following an inspection at a worksite at India Point in Providence, R.I.]

Total proposed fines         $258,300
  • A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

  • OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

  • A repeated violation is issued when a substantially similar violation has been cited during a previous OSHA inspection and that citation has become final.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device dor the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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