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Region 1 News Release:   BOS 2001-160
Oct. 29, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

FATAL WALL COLLAPSE LEADS TO OSHA CITATIONS AGAINST THREE CONTRACTORS

BOSTON - A worker's death in a wall collapse at a Boston construction site has resulted in a total of $69,000 in proposed fines against three Massachusetts contractors.

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it has cited LandTech General Contracting, of Stoughton, Mass., BC Construction Corp., of Wakefield, Mass., and Task Construction Corp., of East Freetown, Mass., for alleged willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The three contractors were engaged in a building rehabilitation project at 41-43 Winchester St. in Boston. LandTech was the general contractor; BC and Task were construction subcontractors. On May 18, 2001, a Task Construction employee was killed when a rubble retaining wall collapsed on him as he was climbing down a ladder into an adjoining excavation.

"Our inspection found that this wall, which had been damaged by earlier construction activity, had not been braced against collapse despite the fact that all three contractors knew such bracing was required for the protection of those working in the excavation," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "Bracing had also not been provided for another adjoining wall and a stairway that had also been undermined by excavation operations. Supplying this critical safeguard would have prevented this accident."

OSHA is citing each contractor for an alleged willful violation for failing to provide the required bracing and is proposing a $21,000 fine against each. 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.

Each contractor was also cited for an alleged serious violation for failing to inspect the excavation for collapse hazards and each faces a fine of $1,500 for that citation. Task Construction was cited for an additional serious violation for failing to train its employees on excavation safety and in the safe operation of excavating machinery. A fine of $1,500 is proposed. A serious violation is defined as 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.

Each contractor 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 area office in Braintree, Mass.

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Summary of Citations and Proposed Penalties

Task Construction Corp. - East Freetown, Mass. -       Total proposed fine: $24,000

  • One alleged willful violation, with a proposed fine of $21,000, for:
    - failure to brace against collapse two excavation walls and a stairway that were adjacent to an excavation.

  • Two alleged serious violations, with a proposed fine of $3,000, for:
    - failure to have a competent person (one with both the knowledge and authority to spot and correct hazards) inspect the excavation for collapse hazards.;
    - failure to train employees in excavation safety and in the safe operation of excavator machinery.

LandTech General Contracting, Inc.- Stoughton, Mass.- Total proposed fine: $22,500

  • One alleged willful violation, with a proposed fine of $21,000, for:
    - failure to brace against collapse two excavation walls and a stairway that were adjacent to an excavation.

  • One alleged serious violation, with a proposed fine of $1,500, for:
    - failure to have a competent person inspect the excavation for collapse hazards.

BC Construction Corp.- Wakefield, Mass.       Total proposed fine: $22,500

  • One alleged willful violation, with a proposed fine of $21,000, for:
    - failure to brace against collapse two excavation walls and a stairway that were adjacent to an excavation.

  • One alleged serious violation, with a proposed fine of $1,500, for:
    - failure to have a competent person inspect the excavation for collapse hazards.

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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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