OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 News Release: 05-856-BOS/BOS 2005-122
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
CONCORD, N.H. -- A Franklin, N.H., contractor's failure to protect workers against cave-ins at a Concord jobsite has resulted in $27,300 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).Phone: (617) 565-2074
Virgin Construction Corp. was cited by OSHA's Concord area office for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection begun Dec. 8, 2004, in response to an anonymous complaint that employees were working in an unprotected trench at 144 Clinton St. in Concord. Virgin was installing a septic system and leaching field at that address.Phone: (617) 565-2074
OSHA's inspection found employees working in a 10-foot deep, straight-walled trench that lacked any cave-in protection. The trench also lacked a ladder or other safe means of exit or entry; employees inside the trench were exposed to loose soil, rocks and debris falling or rolling into the trench from its unprotected sidewalls; and employees were allowed to work in the trench as water accumulated in it.
"The walls of an excavation can collapse suddenly and with great force, stunning and burying workers beneath tons of soil before they have a chance to react or escape," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director for New Hampshire. "OSHA standards clearly mandate that excavations five feet or deeper must be safeguarded against cave-ins. This employer knew such life-saving protection was required for the workers, yet chose not to provide it."
As a result, Virgin Construction received a willful citation and $21,000 fine for lack of cave-in protection. The company was also fined an additional $6,300 and issued three serious citations for the other hazards. 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 a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.
Virgin Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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 investigation was conducted by OSHA's Concord area office, telephone (603) 225-1629.
OSHA offers detailed information on excavation safety on its Web site: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html. A "Quick Card" about trenching safety is available in English and Spanish at: http://www.osha.gov/Publications/trench/trench_safety_tips_card.pdf.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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