Acting on a complaint, OSHA officers in June 2016 found employees of one of the Verona, New York area's largest general contractors working in an unprotected 10-foot deep excavation at a suburban New Jersey high school, in violation of federal safety and health laws.

The inspection at Verona High School found that Landtek, a general contractor, allowed its workers to enter and work in an unprotected, 10-foot deep excavation that had no protective systems in place, as required. Landtek is the general contractor for site improvements at Verona High School, including the construction of new tennis courts and synthetic turf fields.

"Without needed protections in place, an excavation can quickly become a grave as thousands of pounds of soil collapse upon workers below ground,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. “The Landtek Group must re-examine its safety procedures and take all available precautions - including installing shoring or other means - to prevent unexpected movement or collapses of the soil that can lead to disaster."

OSHA issued citations for nine violations - one willful and eight serious - to The Landtek Group Inc. The company faces $197,752 in fines as a result.

The contractor was cited with a willful violation for exposing workers to cave-in hazards because the excavation lacked proper cave-in protection or safeguards.

OSHA cited serious violations related to Landtek's failure to prevent employee exposures to fall, atmospheric and explosion hazards.

The company also failed to:

  • Have a competent person inspect the excavation.
  • Have a written permit space program.
  • Train employees on safely performing their job duties and the hazards associated with them.
  • Coordinate rescue and emergency services for workers entering a sewer manhole.
  • Provide mechanical retrieval equipment in case of an emergency.

The Landtek Group Inc. specializes in sports facility design and construction.