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Region 1 News Release: 10-93-BOS/BOS 2010-048
Wed., Jan. 27, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Methuen, Mass., contractor faces nearly $167,000 in US Labor Department OSHA fines for cave-in hazards at Quincy and Lynnfield, Mass., worksites

BOSTON, Mass. - Trenching safety hazards at two Massachusetts worksites have led to $166,950 in proposed fines for a Methuen, Mass., contractor. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited L. Perrina Construction Co. Inc. for a total of 23 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of safety standards following inspections at worksites in Quincy and Lynnfield, where the company was installing water mains.

OSHA found that employees at both locations were exposed to cave-in hazards while working in trenches more than 6 feet deep that were not protected against the collapse of their sidewalls, exposed to struck-by hazards from material stored at a trench's edge in Quincy and an undermined sidewalk in Lynnfield, and were not trained to recognize and avoid such hazards at either location. The Quincy trench also lacked a safe means of exit.

Additional hazards included damaged, inadequate or misused access ladders, a lack of inspections and safety training, electrical hazards, improper storage of flammables and incomplete recording of injuries and illnesses in Quincy. They also included damaged lifting slings, electrical hazards, no backup alarm on an earth mover and a lack of jobsite safety inspections in Lynnfield.

"An unguarded excavation is a tomb in waiting. Its walls can collapse in moments, crushing and burying workers beneath tons of soil before they have a chance to react or escape," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties.

"This deadly hazard is exacerbated when workers are not provided an effective means of safely entering and exiting the trench. No worker should enter a trench unless and until all required safeguards are in place and in use," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards and safety is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

L. Perrina Construction has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's area offices in Andover, Mass. (phone 978-837-4460), and Braintree, Mass. (phone 617-565-6924). To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 800-321-6742.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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