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October 05, 2022
OSHA issues $1.2 million fine in garage collapse

On September 27, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced $1,191,292 in penalties after a heavy equipment operator performing demolition died when a partially demolished floor collapsed and the 11,000-pound excavator and its operator fell 80 feet.

It was the employee’s first day on the job, according to OSHA. The agency cited JDC Demolition Company Inc. for eight egregious willful violations, two serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation of workplace safety standards.

Agency inspectors found that the Brockton, Massachusetts-based JDC Demolition failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognize and avoid unsafe conditions. The worker was performing demolition on the eighth floor of the Government Center garage in downtown Boston March 26, the day of the collapse.

On the morning of the collapse, according to OSHA, another heavy equipment operator, who had started demolition on a concrete beam on an upper floor bay, told a foreman they had concerns about the floor’s safety. Despite the employee raising safety concerns to the foreman, a second employee was assigned to operate the excavator.

That worker, the deceased, never received a safety briefing and was not trained to follow the engineer’s demolition plan.

OSHA also found that JDC Demolition deviated from the demolition plan by imposing unsafe loads, in the form of heavy equipment, on the partially demolished seventh, eighth, and ninth floors. The demolition plan prohibited the placement of heavy equipment on partially demolished floor bays.

“JDC Demolition Company Inc. knew the heavy equipment on the partially demolished floors were over the weight limits and still allowed a worker, unaware of the hazards, to do demolition work,” Galen Blanton, OSHA’s Boston regional administrator, said in an agency statement. “This willful and egregious disregard for safety cost a worker’s life and exposed other employees to potentially fatal hazards.”

OSHA also cited John Moriarty and Associates Inc., the demolition project’s general contractor, for 4 serious violations, with $58,008 in proposed penalties, for failing to ensure that:

  • Partially demolished precast concrete floors were of sufficient strength to support the load imposed by mechanical equipment.
  • Employees were trained to recognize and avoid overloading of floors during the demolition.
  • Floor holes were covered or secured.
  • A competent person had adequately inspected the jobsite during demolition.

OSHA cites New Jersey roofer for fall violations

On September 30, the agency announced it cited Guelsin Lima, operating as Extreme Roofing and Siding LLC, for 4 willful and 2 serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $247,309, after observing a worker working on a roof without fall protection.

According to the agency, the Trenton, New Jersey, roofing contractor has a history of exposing workers to potentially deadly falls and was cited after inspections at worksites where the employer again intentionally failed to protect workers from falls as they installed roofs in Mahwah, Upper Saddle River, and River Vale, New Jersey.

Agency inspectors also determined the employer failed to provide head and/or eye protection for workers installing roofing shingles. 

 “Past OSHA inspections have made the employer fully aware of federal requirements for keeping workers safe and yet they callously ignore them,” Lisa Levy, OSHA’s Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, area director, said in an agency statement.

The agency initiated its inspections as part of a local emphasis program (LEP) on falls in construction. OSHA recently announced that its construction industry fall protection standard was its most frequently cited standard for the 12th year in a row.

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