OSHA Finds Lack of Safety Measures Led to Massachusetts Dock Collapse

OSHA Finds Lack of Safety Measures Led to Massachusetts Dock Collapse

Mohawk Northeast Inc. faces $214,327 in proposed fines following the incident in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Connecticut-based contractor Mohawk Northeast Inc.—which specializes in heavy and marine construction and tugboat transportation—now faces OSHA fines totaling $214,327 after a dock collapse in New Bedford, Massachusetts, that injured workers.

According to a recent release, the October 2023 incident resulted in a 200-foot section of the pier collapsing into the Acushnet River, plunging five workers into the water and injuring two. OSHA inspectors concluded that the collapse could have been prevented if Mohawk Northeast had adhered to required safety standards. 

Specifically, the agency found that the company failed to assess the pier's ability to support the combined weight of its workers, materials and equipment. OSHA issued a willful citation, imposing penalties of $161,323. Additional fines of $53,004 were proposed for four serious violations, including failure to provide fall protection and life jackets, secure a crane to a barge effectively and protect against potential crane strikes.

“Mohawk Northeast Inc. had a responsibility to determine if the pier was structurally sound and ensure other required safeguards before placing its employees and equipment on the pier, but it chose not to do so,” OSHA Area Director James Mulligan in Braintree, Massachusetts, said in a statement. Proper planning and preparation could have prevented the pier’s collapse. While fortunate that no fatalities occurred, the company still exposed employees needlessly to potentially fatal and disabling injuries.” 

Mohawk Northeast, a firm, has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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