The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Wakefield, Mass., excavation and utilities contractor Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc. for willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a Milton worksite. Cardillo faces $144,400 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Braintree Area Office begun on August 6, 2013, in response to an anonymous complaint.
Workers were installing water mains in a trench 6 feet, 8 inches deep at Rustlewood and Central Avenues, with no cave-in protection and a ladder to exit. They were exposed to falling debris that accumulated above the trench. As a result, OSHA issued two willful citations, with $140,000 in fines, for the cave-in and exit hazards. OSHA issued one serious citation, with a $4,400 fine, for the debris hazard. The same willful violations were cited in December 2010 at a Salem, N.H., worksite.
OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against sidewalls collapsing. Protection may be provided through shoring of the trench walls, sloping the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box.
Since 2011, Cardillo has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on employers with a history of safety violations that endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its latest citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://go.usa.gov/B57R.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.