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Construction contractor cited over trench hazards

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OSHA

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that it cited a Boston construction contractor for exposing untrained day laborers to trench cave-ins and excavation hazards.

OSHA cited Boston Waterproofing & Construction Corp. for “willful” and “serious” violations and proposed $451,694 in penalties after investigators said the company exposed workers to “life-threatening” dangers at construction sites in Arlington, Massachusetts, and Warwick, Rhode Island, in September 2023 and December 2023, respectively.

The inspections were launched amid safety concerns raised by employees who asked for cave-in protections but were not given them, OSHA said. The excavations in both cases collapsed, resulting in workers being injured and buried.

OSHA said that during the Arlington incident, Boston Waterproofing made no attempt to rescue a trapped employee and “struck the trapped employee with objects to prevent the employee from seeking medical attention.”

In the Warwick incident, the company rebuffed an injured worker’s plea to call 911 and instead took the worker to the hospital in a personal vehicle, the agency said.

The company has 15 business days to contest the citation and proposed penalties.