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Region 1 USDL 04-295-BOS/BOS 2004-044
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075


OSHA Cites N.H. Water Company for Cave-In Hazards at Nashua Jobsite

CONCORD, N.H. -- A New Hampshire water company's failure to supply cave-in protection for its workers at a Nashua jobsite has resulted in $52,750 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Pennichuck Water Works, Inc., has been cited for alleged serious and willful safety violations following an OSHA inspection at a water line repair project at Main and Franklin Streets in Nashua beginning on Jan. 22. Inspectors found workers exposed to cave-ins from both undermined pavement and an unprotected trench.

"A trench can collapse without warning, with tremendous force, burying workers beneath tons of soil before they have a chance to react." said David May, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Trenches five or more feet deep must be protected against collapse. Failure to do so puts workers at great risk."

Two alleged serious violation citations, including fines totaling $3,750, were issued for failure to protect employees from the hazards of undermined pavement and surrounding soils and allowing workers to enter a trench via a ladder located in an unprotected portion of the excavation. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

One alleged willful violation citation, carrying a fine of $49,000, was issued for failure to protect employees working in a trench from cave-in by an adequate protective system such as sloping or shoring the excavation. A violation is deemed willful if it is committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

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. The inspection was conducted by the OSHA's Concord area office. The telephone number is (603) 225-1629.

In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. For more information, visit www.osha.gov. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses and protecting the health and safety of America's workers.

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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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