'When you fail to train your employees properly, you deny them the most valuable tool they can have, knowledge'
Contractor hit with $1.3 million in proposed penalties after two workers die at Boston dig site.
On February 24, 2021, two workers – Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27, and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33 – died at a sewer repair worksite on High Street in downtown Boston after being struck by a dump truck which then pushed them into a nine-foot deep trench.
The incident was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) who cited Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., based in Wayland, Massachusetts, for 28 willful, repeat, serious and other-than serious violations.
“Two hardworking people lost their lives because Atlantic Coast Utilities put its own profits over workers’ safety and health.
The failure of employers to follow federal safety and health regulations designed to keep workers out of harm's way is absolutely unacceptable. This is yet another reminder of why the department's mission to protect workers' rights and ensure safe working conditions is so important,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
The U.S. Department of Labor says that the employer, Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., as well as its predecessor company Shannon Construction Corp., their owner Laurence Moloney and its successor company, Sterling Excavation LLC, has a “long history of ignoring the safety and health of its employees”.
Due to severity of the hazards, OSHA used its egregious citation policy, which allows the agency to propose a separate penalty for each violation, to propose a total of $1,350,884 in penalties.
Violations include the company’s refusal to train Romero and Gutierrez as well as other workers to recognize and avoid work-related hazards. OSHA also found that the employer failed to conduct worksite inspections to identify and correct hazards.
“When you fail to train your employees properly, you deny them the most valuable tool they can have, knowledge. Knowledge to do their work correctly and safely, knowledge to understand the hazards that accompany their job and knowledge of how to identify and eliminate those hazards before they injure, sicken or kill workers,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Jeffrey Erskine in Boston.
As well as OSHA’s inspections, the department’s Wage and Hour Division is also investigating Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC for possible violations of federal wage law.