Region 2 News Release: NY 204
October 27, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
COLONIA, NEW JERSEY PLUMBING AND EXCAVATION COMPANY CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL AND OTHER SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING DEATH OF WORKER; $81,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U. S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Utility System, Inc. of 650 Leesville Avenue, Colonia, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $81,000 against the firm, for two alleged willful and four alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until November 16 to contest the citations.
According to Gary Roskoski, OSHA area director, the action results from an inspection conducted from April 30 to October 25 at a construction site located at the intersection of Bay and New Jersey Avenues in Point Pleasant Beach, following a fatal accident. Arsenio Neves of Newark was killed on April 29 when a trench partially collapsed on him and he struck his head on a water main pipe being installed at the site.
OSHA cited the company for two alleged willful violations of OSHA standards for failure to properly protect employees from cave-ins while working in an excavation, and failure to ensure that employees wore protective helmets while working in areas where there is danger of head injury from impact or from falling objects. The alleged willful violations carry a total proposed penalty of $70,000.
The company was also cited for four alleged serious violations of OSHA standards:
- failure to maintain a construction industry safety and health program.
- failure to properly instruct employees in the recognition and avoidance of worksite hazards.
- failure to keep employees from working in an excavation in which water had accumulated.
- failure to store excavated soil the required distance from the edge of an excavation.
The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $11,000.
"This company was cited in 1992 for conditions similar to those which were observed in this accident investigation", Roskoski said, "and because of the company's gross negligence and their failure to provide adequate protection for their employees there was a fatal accident, an accident which could have easily been prevented if the employer had following OSHA's safety standards."
A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Marlton area office, located at Marlton Executive Park, 701 Route 73 South, Building 2, Suite 120, Marlton, N. J. Telephone: (609) 757-5181.
# # #
This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (212)337-2319, TDD phone: 800-347-8028.