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Region 2 News Release: 08-517-NEW/BOS 2008-121
Tues., April 22, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074


Westchester County, N.Y. contractors face $130,600 in fines after cave-in hazard spotted at public library construction site
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA issues citations following 'drive-by' inspectio

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited four Westchester County contractors for allegedly violating excavation safety standards during the ongoing construction of the new public library in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. A total of $130,600 in fines is proposed.

The citations and fines stem from an OSHA inspection begun when an OSHA inspector who was driving by the worksite observed employees working in an apparently unprotected excavation and opened an inspection on the spot.

"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the fact that three of these four contractors knew cave-in protection must be in place before employees entered the excavation yet elected not to provide this vital safeguard," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown.

Three of the employers - Fourmen Construction of Peekskill, N.Y., the project's general contractor; concrete subcontractor D&J Concrete Corp. of Millwood, N.Y.; and excavation subcontractor McNamee Construction Corp. of Lincolndale, N.Y. - were issued willful citations for failing to provide cave-in protection for their employees who were working in the unprotected 11- to 12-foot-deep excavation.

They, along with the fourth employer, plumbing subcontractor L.J. Coppola Inc. of Thornwood, N.Y., were issued serious citations for failing to remove rebar and other encumbrances from the excavation's entrance. Fourmen Construction also was issued a serious citation for not having a competent person inspect the jobsite for hazards.

"While no cave-in occurred, the potential for death or disabling injury was real and present, since an unguarded excavation can collapse in seconds, crushing and burying employees before they can react or escape," said Cortez. "If employers are thinking of foregoing cave-in protection for any reason, I want them to know that OSHA inspectors will stop and open an inspection immediately whenever they observe a cave-in hazard while passing by a jobsite."

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety, including an interactive e-Tool, is also available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html. Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office; telephone 914-524-7510.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Note: A fact sheet breaking down the citations and fines by employer follows this news release.


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Fact Sheet - OSHA citations and proposed penalties - Briarcliff Manor Public Library

D & J Concrete Corp., Millwood, N.Y.
  • One alleged willful violation for failing to provide cave-in protection [$56,000].
Total proposed penalties: $56,000


Fourmen Construction Inc., Peekskill, N.Y.
  • One alleged willful violation for failing to provide cave-in protection [$35,000].
  • Two alleged serious violations for failing to have a competent person inspect the jobsite for excavation hazards [$2,500] and failing to remove encumbrances such as rebar from the excavation's entrance [$750].
Total proposed penalties: $38,250


McNamee Construction Corp., Lincolndale, N.Y.
  • One alleged willful violation for failing to provide cave-in protection [$35,000].
  • One alleged serious violation for failing to remove encumbrances such as rebar from the excavation's entrance [$600].
Total proposed penalties: $35,600


L.J. Coppola Inc., Thornwood, N.Y.
  • One alleged serious violation for failing to remove encumbrances such as rebar from the excavations entrance [$750].
Total proposed penalties: $750
Total proposed penalties to all contractors: $130,600

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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.
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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