OSHA has cited a Dracut, Mass., contractor for alleged willful and serious safety violations at a Nashua, N.H., work site. DeFelice Inc. faces a total of $55,660 in proposed fines.

Inspectors from OSHA's Concord Area Office observed a DeFelice employee working in an inadequately guarded excavation that was more than 8 feet deep. OSHA standards require that trenches or excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. The absence of such protection in this case resulted in OSHA issuing DeFelice Inc. one willful citation.

"An inadequately protected excavation can collapse in seconds, resulting in severe or fatal consequences for any employee in the excavation," pointed out Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director.

OSHA's inspection also found that the excavation lacked a ladder or other safe means of exit, and the workers in the excavation were not protected against being struck by material falling into the hole. Additionally, a damaged and uninspected steel-chain sling was used to lift and move materials, an employee working in the traffic zone lacked a reflective vest and employees at the site were not trained to recognize and address hazards. These conditions resulted in the issuance of seven serious citations.