A contractor with a history of violating workplace safety standards faces a total of $354,000 in new fines from OSHA in connection with trenching hazards at two work sites.
Since 2000, P. Gioioso & Sons of Hyde Park, MA, had been cited seven times, not including the most recent OSHA action. The company installs underground water and sewer mains.
An inspection in Cambridge, MA, was opened when an OSHA inspector saw a Gioioso employee working in an unprotected trench. During the inspection, a section of the trench wall collapsed while the employee was still in it. The worker was fortunate not to have been injured.
The second inspection in Framingham, MA, began after a concerned passer-by informed OSHA about workers in an unguarded trench.
In both cases, OSHA found the trenches lacked cave-in protection and a ladder or other safe means for workers to exit. OSHA issued four willful violations, each with the maximum $70,000 fine.
Gioioso also faces five serious and three repeat violations. OSHA had cited the company in 2009 for similar hazards at three other work sites.
OSHA has placed Gioioso in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program which mandates follow-up inspections.
Trenches five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse according to OSHA standards, using either shoring, sloping or a protective trench box.
Gioioso has 15 business days to decide whether to contest the fines.