On February 10, 2014, OSHA announced that it cited a Wakefield, Massachusetts excavation contractor for willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a Milton job site and issued fines of $144,400. This was the second time that this contractor was cited by OSHA for violating excavation safety standards.
“The proposed fines reflect both the gravity of the hazards and that the employer knowingly refused to comply with using required safeguards,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “These workers could have been crushed and buried in seconds beneath tons of soil and debris, without any escape options. This risk is unacceptable, and this employer has been cited previously for the same hazards.”
The workers were installing water main pipes and excavating a trench over 6 feet deep in Milton, Massachusetts. The trenches did not have any cave-in protection and or ladder so the workers could exit the trench in the event of a cave-in.
OSHA excavation safety standards require that all trenches 5 feet or deeper have cave-in protection which is customarily done by shoring the walls of the trench or using a protective trench box.
If you believe that your employer or job site has exposed you and your co-workers to a safety hazard, you should call OSHA’s hotline at 1-800-321-6742 or the Boston office at 877-762-9510.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a work accident, you should call an experienced workers comp attorney. Do not delay. You may have a third-party claim in addition to a workers comp claim. It is critical to investigate the accident as soon as possible in order to identify a potential third-party claim and preserve the evidence needed to prove your claim.