OHSA has cited J.A.M. Construction Co. Inc. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a Newport, R.I., worksite, an agency release reported. According to the agency, the Middletown, R.I., contractor faces a total of $59,500 in proposed fines.
The citations and penalties resulted from OSHA's April 15
inspection of a water line installation at the Cluny School on Brenton Road.
The inspection found J.A.M. Construction employees working in an excavation
deeper than six feet that lacked adequate protection against cave-ins. OSHA
standards require that all excavations feet feet or deeper be protected against
"The hazard here was imminent and potentially
deadly," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's area director in Providence.
"The walls of an excavation can collapse instantly, burying or crushing
employees before they can react or escape. While it is fortunate that no
collapse occurred, protecting employees against cave-ins cannot and must never
be a matter of luck."
OSHA consequently has issued to J.A.M. Construction one
willful citation, carrying a proposed fine of $49,000. OSHA defines a willful
violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard
for employee safety and health.
The agency also has issued the company one repeat citation,
with a $6,000 fine, for storing excavated material less than two feet from the
edge of the excavation. OSHA had cited the company in September 2007 for a
similar hazard at a Middletown jobsite.
Additionally, according to the release, OSHA issued
the company two serious citations, with $4,500 in fines, for inadequate support
for an undermined stone wall crossing the top of the excavation, as well as no
protective helmets for employees working in the excavation.