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Region 1 News Release: 11-1528-BOS/BOS 2011-363
Oct. 26, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

Cave-in hazard at Hanover, Mass., job site leads to $161,000 in proposed fines
for Boston contractor Walsh Corp. from US Labor Department OSHA
Employee worked in unprotected trench below crumbling asphalt, lacked exit ladder

BRAINTREE, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Walsh Corp., a contractor based in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards for failing to protect an employee at a Hanover work site against cave-in and "struck-by" hazards. The contractor faces a total of $161,000 in proposed fines.

Walsh Corp. was installing a water main at 58 Rockland St. when an OSHA inspector observed an employee working in an unprotected straight-walled trench more than 5 feet deep that lacked protection to keep its walls from caving in. The pavement around the trench was undermined and not removed or supported to prevent it from falling into the trench; the trench lacked a ladder or other safe means of exit; the worker lacked head protection against falling debris; and the competent person on-site, who had the knowledge to identify and the authority to correct these hazards, did not remove the employee from the unprotected trench.

"These conditions could have been a precursor to death or severe injury for this worker," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "The walls of this trench could have collapsed in seconds and engulfed him in tons of soil and debris. In recognition of the severity of these hazards, as well as this employer's knowledge and failure to correct them, we are propos