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OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 BOS 2002-204
Oct., 8, 2002
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Against Cave-ins Leads to $248,000 in Fines
BOSTON, Mass. -- A Franklin, Mass., construction contractor's willful and repeated failure to protect its workers against potentially deadly cave-ins has resulted in $248,020 in proposed fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Zenone, Inc.has been cited by OSHA for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at three sewer line excavations located on Dorchester Ave. in Boston. The citations follow OSHA inspections that found the excavations, which ranged from five to 9.5 feet in depth, lacked cave-in protection.
"This contractor knew full well that cave-in protection was required yet elected to not provide it," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA Area Director for Boston. "Excavation collapses are sudden, swift, and often deadly. Thirty-one American workers died in such accidents in 2000. There's no excuse for an employer time and again failing to supply such a vital, common sense -- and legally required -- safeguard."
Gordon noted that the bulk of the fines, $224,000, stem from the four trenching citations, which were classified as willful, the most severe category of OSHA citation. In three instances, no cave-in protection was provided at all; in the fourth, it was inadequate.
Zenone was also cited for nine alleged serious violations, with $18,300 in proposed fines. for two instances of undermined pavement, which increased cave-in potential; a ladder placed on an unstable surface; a missing grounding pin; cracked windows in an excavator; missing safety latch on hoisting chains; missing rigging tags; fall and tripping hazards from debris, tools and material strewn throughout the work area; and lack of eye protection.
Fines of $4,720 are proposed for two separate alleged repeat violations for employees not wearing warning vests while exposed to heavy vehicular traffic. The company also faces a $1,000 fine for failing to supply its illness and injury log in a timely manner, an alleged other than serious violation.
Zenone has 15 business 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, and/or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The OSHA Area Office in Braintree, Mass., conducted the inspection. The telephone number is (617) 565-6924.
A fact sheet detailing the citations and proposed fines is attached.
Fact Sheet - Citations & Proposed Fines - Zenone, Inc.
Four alleged willful violations, with $224,000 in proposed penalties, for:
-- three instances of failing to supply cave-in protection for employees working in excavations greater than 5 feet in depth
-- one instance of inadequate shoring protection for employees working in an excavation more than 5 feet deep.
Nine alleged serious violations, with $18,300 in penalties proposed, for:
-- two instances of undermined roadways atop or adjacent to an excavation;
-- ladders placed on unstable surfaces; missing grounding pin; cracked windows in an excavator; missing safety latch on hoisting chains; missing rigging tags; debris, tools and equipment strewn throughout work area; lack of eye protection.
Two alleged repeat violations, with a proposed fine of $4,720, for:
-- two instances of employees not wearing warning vests while exposed to heavy vehicular traffic.
One alleged other than serious violation, with a proposed fine of $1,000, for:
-- failure to supply illness and injury logs in a timely manner.
Total proposed fines: $248,020
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and the citation has become final.
A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
An other-than-serious violation is a condition, which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
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.
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