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Region 1 News Release:   BOS 2000-165
Friday, November 3, 2000
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE: (617) 565-2074

Nearly $60,000 in Penalties Proposed
OSHA CITES THREE CONTRACTORS FOLLOWING SEPTEMBER 28 WORKER DEATH AT FRANKLIN, MASS., CONSTRUCTION SITE

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited three contractors - Lower County Developers Corporation (LCD Corp.), of Plymouth, Massachusetts; W.J.N. Construction, of East Bridgewater, Mass.; and Essex Builders Corp., of Norwood, Mass.; - for alleged Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the death of a worker at a Franklin, Mass., construction site and has proposed total penalties of $59,500 against the three employers.

On September 28, 2000, an employee of W.J.N. Construction was killed when he was struck by a backhoe which rolled into an excavation in which he was working at a construction site located at the Forge Hill YMCA, 450 Forge Hill Road in Franklin. Essex Builders Corp. was the general contractor on the project to construct an addition to the YMCA; W.J.N. Construction was a construction subcontractor working on the project; Lower County Development Corp. was a subcontractor which supplied and operated the backhoe.

According to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Southeastern Massachusetts, OSHA's inspection identified several serious safety hazards which contributed to the accident:

  • the parking brake on the backhoe had not been set when it was parked at the edge of the excavation

  • a barricade or stop blocks had not been utilized when the backhoe approached and operated in close proximity to the excavation

  • employees were working in the excavation while it was being backfilled by the backhoe

  • employees had not been instructed to recognize unsafe conditions and hazards associated with work in and around excavations and heavy equipment

  • backhoe operators had not been trained in all aspects of backhoe operations and applicable regulations

  • daily inspections that would have identified these hazards had not been conducted by a competent person (one with both the knowledge to identify hazards and the authority to correct them).

"Construction work is, by its very nature, hazardous and that makes it imperative that appropriate safeguards be supplied," said Gordon. "That can be clearly seen in this case. Had these required precautions been taken, this accident and this death would not have occurred."

Specifically, the citations and proposed fines against each employer are as follows:

  • Lower County Developers Corp., the contractor which supplied and operated the backhoe, faces $23,100 in fines for five alleged Serious violations, for:
    - failure to train each employee in all aspects of backhoe operation and applicable regulations;
    - the backhoe was parked at the edge of the excavation without its parking brake being set;
    - a barricade or stop blocks were not utilized where the backhoe approached the excavation;
    - employees were working in an excavation while the backhoe was filling it;
    - failure to supply a competent person to conduct daily inspections for hazardous conditions.

  • W.J.N. Construction, a construction contractor, faces $20,650 in fines for five alleged Serious violations for:
    - failure to instruct each employee in the recognition of unsafe conditions and the hazards associated with working in and around excavations and heavy equipment;
    - employees allowed to work in an excavation while it was being filled by a backhoe;
    - a barricade or stop blocks were not utilized where a backhoe approached the edge of an excavation;
    - failure to provide a competent person to conduct daily inspections for evidence of a hazardous situation;
    - employees were not wearing head protection.

  • Essex Builders Corp., the project's general contractor, faces $15,750 in fines for four alleged Serious violations, for:
    - employees allowed to work in an excavation while it was being filled by a backhoe;
    - employees were not wearing head protection;
    - a barricade or stop blocks were not utilized where the backhoe approached the excavation.
    - failure to supply a competent person to conduct daily inspection of the excavation for hazardous conditions.

Gordon urged Southeastern Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Braintree at 617-565-6924 and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.

A serious violation is defined by OSHA 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.

OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.

Each company has 15 working 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.

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The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.


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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