OSHA News Release - Table of Contents
Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 1 News Release: 10-286-BOS/BOS 2010-106
Wed., March 10, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $178,800 in fines for Massachusetts and Rhode Island contractors for Newton, Mass., cave-in hazards

ANDOVER, Mass. - Responding to a complaint of potentially unsafe conditions at a synagogue under construction at 349 Dedham St. in Newton, Mass., the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that employees of Telsi Builders, the project's Newton-based general contractor, and its concrete subcontractor, Ocean State Forms Inc. of Cumberland, R.I., were working in excavations up to 14 feet deep that lacked protection against a collapse of their sidewalls.

"Workers at this site were needlessly exposed to cave-in hazards on multiple occasions," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "In one instance, had the unprotected 14-foot high excavation wall collapsed, it would have engulfed workers pouring concrete formwork and crushed them beneath tons of concrete as well as soil and debris."

The cave-in hazards were exacerbated by the placement of excavated spoils at the edge of excavations and the lack of a safe means of exiting the excavations. Workers for both contractors also risked impalement on unguarded protruding steel rebar, falls into uncovered 7-foot deep holes and head injuries from a lack of protective helmets for workers in the excavations. In addition, Telsi employees were exposed to additional fall hazards from defective and uninspected ladders and while crossing over an excavation on a plank that lacked guardrails.

As a result of these conditions, Telsi Builders and Ocean State Forms both have been issued four willful citations, with $84,000 apiece in fines; Telsi has been issued four s