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Region 1 News Release: 09-213-BOS/BOS 2009-053
Wed., March 4, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Fall hazard at Chelsea, Mass., worksite leads to $70,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for Plainville, Mass., contractor

METHUEN, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Shawnlee Construction Inc. for an alleged willful violation of fall protection safety standards and proposed a $70,000 fine against the Plainville, Mass., wood framing contractor.

The citation and proposed penalty follow an OSHA inspection at a building under construction at 325 Commandants Way in Chelsea, Mass. OSHA's inspection found that a Shawnlee employee was exposed to a 50-foot fall while working without fall protection on the building's roof. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

"The dangers of fall hazards cannot be understated, as falls are the number one cause of death in construction work," said Paul Mangiafico, area director for OSHA's Boston North office in Methuen. "While no fall occurred in this case, the potential for a fatal 50-foot plunge was present. This reality underscores why fall protection measures must be in place, in use and effective at all times."

OSHA standards require an effective form of fall protection whenever employees work at heights of six feet or greater. Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's Web site at

Shawnlee Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Boston North area director in Methuen, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees in Middlesex and Essex counties may contact the Boston North office with questions about workplace safety and health at 617-565-8110 or call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

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


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at 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
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