$354,000 Fine Lodged Against Trenching Company

OSHA claims the company has a long history of violations.

OSHA announced Monday it has filed $354,000 in new proposed fines against P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. for allegedly exposing employees to cave-in hazards at work sites in Cambridge and Framingham, Mass. The company has been cited seven times since 2000 for violating federal trenching and excavation safety standards, according to OSHA's news release.

P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. of Hyde Park, Mass., is a that primarily constructs underground water and sewer mains, according to OSHA. The latest fines follow two inspections. The Cambridge inspection was opened when an OSHA inspector saw a company employee working in an unprotected trench on Kimball Street; part of the trench wall collapsed while the employee was still in the trench during the inspection, OSHA said; the Framingham inspection began "after a concerned passer-by informed OSHA of workers in an unguarded trench," according to the agency. Cave-in protection and a safe means for workers to exit the trenches weren't in place either time, it said.

"Time and again, this employer has chosen to ignore the law and, by doing so, placed its workers' lives at risk," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Employers who ignore basic, common-sense, and legally required safeguards will face substantial fines and consequences."

The citation includes four willful violations, each carrying the maximum allowable penalty of $70,000; five serious violations with $32,000 in fines; and three repeat citations with $42,000 in fines.

OSHA said this enforcement action qualifies P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. for placement in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections. For more information on the program, visit http://www.osha.gov/dep/svep-directive.pdf.

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