By Chris Barrett
PBN Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN – Middletown contractor J.A.M. Construction Co. Inc. faces a $69,600 fine for safety violations, said the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week.
OSHA said the contractor violated standards for regulating trenches. The agency said inspectors driving by a Newport job site noticed workers instead a 6-foot, 4-inch trench without proper cave-in safeguards. The trench also lacked a ladder or means of escape in the event of an emergency.
“You cannot overstate the gravity of this hazard,” said Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s R.I. area director. “A cave-in can occur in seconds with soil and debris engulfing workers before they can react or escape. Employers know that an excavation must have effective cave-in protection in place every time a worker enters it. Failure to provide such protection could result in serious injury or death for a worker.”
OSHA issued citations for a willful violation and violating the standards for at least the second time. The agency cited the company in September 2007 for a similar hazard at a worksite on Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown.