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Region 1 USDL 04-424-BOS/BOS 2004-062
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

Fall River, Mass., Tunnel Project Contractor Faces $56,000 in OSHA Fines for Repeat and Serious Safety Hazards

BRAINTREE, Mass. -- A construction contractor's failure to safeguard workers against falls, electrocution, impalement, runaway equipment and other safety hazards at a Fall River, Mass., tunnel project has resulted in $56,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

J.F. Shea Construction Company has been cited for alleged repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an OSHA inspection begun Feb. 11, 2004, in response to an employee complaint about four accidents on the project. J.F. Shea is the general contractor for the Fall River Combined Sewer Overflow Tunnel Project.

"Tunneling is dangerous work and worker safety must be a top priority," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Mass. "The new and recurring hazards found on this job are disturbing and unacceptable. They must be effectively addressed to prevent death or serious injuries."

OSHA's inspection found three instances where workers were exposed to falls of greater than six feet and two instances where they were exposed to impalement hazards from uncovered reinforcing steel rods. OSHA issued two repeat citations for these hazards since J.F. Shea had been cited for similar hazards at this same jobsite in July 2003. Proposed fines are $32,500 for these violations.

The latest inspection also found employees exposed to the following hazards: electrocution from a 13,800-volt power line that fell and broke open as a result of ice being allowed to accumulate on the line; being struck by a front-end loader with a cracked window that distorted the operator's view; being struck by or caught between equipment in areas where tunnel access was not restricted to authorized personnel; being struck by a runaway locomotive that was left without its brake set; injury from improper operation of a man-trip (a rail car used to transport workers in and out of the tunnel); and improper modification of a front-end loader. These hazards resulted in six serious citations with $23,500 in fines.

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.

J.F. Shea Construction 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 Braintree area office. The telephone number is (617) 565-6924.

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 have 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. For more information visit


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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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