OSHA fines MA contractor $14K in worker’s drowning death

By Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Massachusetts contractor for two serious violations of workplace safety standards in relation to a worker drowning death during the installation of a sewer line. OSHA has a proposed a total fine of $14,000, $7,000 for each violation.
  • OSHA investigators found that 28-year-old Davide Nascimento was working on the installation of a sewer line in July when a portion of the roadway above the excavation fell, breaking a six-inch water main pipe. Nascimento, who was in the excavation site, drowned.
  • The OSHA investigation concluded that employer A. Martin & Son Construction, Inc., did not protect the water line and did not inspect the excavation for conditions that could lead to a cave-in, such as weakened excavation walls from the previous night’s rainstorm.

Dive Insight:

“Mr. Nascimento would not have died had his employer followed proper procedures to identify and eliminate excavation hazards,” Springfield, MA, OSHA area director Mary Hoye said. “Trenching and excavation operations are among the most dangerous in construction work. Employers must educate themselves and employees on trenching safeguards, including cave-in protection and having a competent person on-site to identify hazards and promptly correct any hazards.”

There have been several high-profile trench and excavation-related incidents during the last several months. OSHA fined a Texas contractor more than $400,000 after a worker was seriously injured in a trench collapse, and also fined a Texas library contractor $88,000 for excavation hazards. The Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health agency also fined a Kentucky contractor $42,000 for a trench collapse resulting in a worker death.

Information from www.constructiondive.com

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