Walsh Corp., based out of Dorchester, has been cited for a number of violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to protect its employees from avoiding a Hanover work accident. At the work site, employees were subjected to various “struck-by” and cave-in hazards. These violations came with proposed fines of more than $160,000.
An inspector from OSHA witnessed the Walsh Corp.’s violations after it was hired to install a water main on Rockland Street. The inspector says he saw trenches that were deeper than 5 feet that were not protected. These trenches were straight-walled and had nothing there to keep the walls from collapsing. The inspector also reported that the concrete around the trench had not been removed, supported or undermined to stop it from going into the trench. Trenches are prone to cave in when they are not properly supported. Employers have an obligation to provide safe work conditions for all employees, regardless of the industry.
Our Massachusetts workers compensation attorneys understand the dangers that trench workers face on the job. These accidents are 100 percent preventable if workers and employers take the proper safety precautions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 300 employees who died in excavation or trenching cave-ins from 2000 to 2006. Nearly 70 percent of these fatalities happened among companies with fewer than 50 employees. Roughly 50 percent of these fatalities occurred within companies that had fewer than 10 workers. These types of accidents are completely preventable by using safe work practices, protective equipment and proper engineering controls.
Walsh Corp. was also cited for failing to use a ladder in the trenches on the site. Ladders are to be kept on site to provide a safe way to get out of a trench. The inspector also reported that workers were not wearing the proper head protection to keep them safe from being struck by falling debris. Lastly, the company was cited for having supervisors who failed to address these hazards. Each work site is required to have an overlooking individual who possesses the knowledge to identify these hazards. If these conditions are present, these individuals are instructed to keep employees out of the unsafe trenches.
“These conditions could have been a precursor to death or severe injury for this worker,” said OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts, Brenda Gordon.
Reports indicate that the walls of the trench could have fallen in at any second. A collapsed trench could potentially suffocate a worker. Employers are required to have knowledge to recognize these hazards and be able to correct them. Walsh Corp. was fined to the highest degree for failing to address these hazards. They were also fined more than $20,000 for other three serious violations.
If you or someone you love has been injured at work, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC to help you file a claim or to have the intricacies of your case explained to you. Call 1-877-617-5333 for a free no-obligation appointment.
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