December 15, 2010

Market builders reach OSHA deal

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Two of the three Massachusetts contractors cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health admin-istration for not taking proper safety precautions during the construction of the new Route 28 Market Basket store have agreed to work with state and federal safety officials, which could result in a decrease of fines levied against the companies.On Dec. 9, OSHA issued a total of $154,700 in proposed fines against Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc. of Wakefield, Majestic Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Tewksbury and Domenick Zanni Sons Inc. of Reading for exposing workers to cave-in hazards on the Salem work site.
As of early this week, OSHA officials still hadn’t heard from Zanni, OSHA spokesman John Chavez said yesterday. An informal conference with OSHA officials and Majestic was being held this week, while another conference is scheduled with
 Cardillo next week. 

Contractor compliance with OSHA could possibly result in a reduction of fines, Chavez said. 
David McLean, operations manager for the Demoulas/ Market Basket chain in Tewksbury, Mass., and Joseph Zanni, owner of Domenick Zanni Sons Inc., did not immediately return calls seeking comment. 
All three of the cited companies had been contracted to install a grease trap and piping during the supermarket construction in Salem last spring. In June, OSHA inspectors observed employees working in an unprotected eight-foot deep trench with no ladder made available for a safe exit. 
OSHA standards dictate that any excavations that are five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. 
“The size of these proposed fines reflects the gravity of these hazards and the fact that two of the employers knew cave-in protection and a ladder were required, yet refused to provide these vital safeguards,” Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director, said in a written statement last week. 
Ohar further stressed that danger was real and present, since walls of an unguarded trench can potentially collapse in seconds, striking or engulfing workers before they have the chance to escape. 
Cardillo has been issued two willful citations: a total of $105,000 in fines, while Majestic was issued two willful citations totaling $42,000 in fines. Zanni faces two serious citations and $5,600 in fines. 
OSHA officials defined a willful violation as one committed “with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or plain indifference to worker safety and health.” 
Serious citations are issued due to “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.” 
Both Cardillo and Majestic also face three other-thanserious fines for inadequate record keeping, with fines totaling $1,200 and $900, respectively. 
By law, each of the three cited contractors has 15 business days following the citation’s receipt to comply, meet with OSHA officials or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. 

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