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OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 USDL 04-238-BOS/BOS 2004-049
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
$116,000 in Fines Proposed
CONCORD, N.H. -- A New Hampshire construction contractor's continued failure to protect its workers against cave-in hazards has resulted in citations and fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
"To ensure that workplace fatalities continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant proposed fines of $116,000 show that this Administration is committed to the safety of American workers, and we will take action when employers ignore their responsibility."
Paragon Construction, Inc., of Orford, was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following OSHA inspections at two jobsites in Lebanon and Berlin. Employees at both sites were found working in excavations six to ten feet deep in which sidewalls were not protected against collapse. Paragon Construction has been cited five times since 1999 for similar hazards at jobsites in New Hampshire and Vermont.
As a result of the latest inspections two willful citations, carrying $112,000 in fines, were issued for the lack of cave-in protection at the two worksites. The Berlin excavation also lacked a ladder or other safe means for workers to exit the excavation. A serious citation, with a $4,000 fine, was issued for that hazard. The inspection was conducted by the OSHA's Concord area office.
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. A serious violation is 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.
Paragon Construction, Inc. 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 Labor Department'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. In fiscal year 2002, the most recent year for which data has been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. In FY 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries including construction. 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 for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.
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