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OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 BOS 2003-171
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
CONCORD, N.H. -- A Hooksett, N.H., auto dealership's failure to provide cave-in protection for an employee working in a water-filled, six foot deep excavation has resulted in $37,750 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Mega-Store, Inc., located at 1378 Hooksett Rd., has been cited for one alleged willful and three alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, after an employee was found working in an excavation whose sidewalls were not protected against collapse.
According to David May, OSHA's New Hampshire area director, a foot of water had accumulated in the bottom of the excavation and a pile of excavated soil was placed at its edge. Both these conditions increased the potential for a cave-in. In addition, the worker inside the trench was not wearing a protective helmet.
"While it's fortunate that no collapse occurred, the potential for a cave-in was real. The walls of an excavation can collapse suddenly and with great force, burying workers beneath tons of earth before they have time to react or escape," said May, who noted that 36 American workers died in excavation cave-ins in 2001. "That's why it's imperative that cave-in protection be in place and in use before workers enter an excavation."
A willful citation, with a fine of $35,000, was issued for the absence of cave-in protection while $2,750 in fines was proposed for three serious citations for the water in the trench, the material piled at its edge and the lack of head protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations, while a serious violation is 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
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 Concord, N.H., area office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (603) 225-1629.
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.
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.
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