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OSHA Finds - Employer Did Not Provide Safety Training & Basic Safeguards For Employees

In October of 2016, two workers died in Boston while working in about a 12-foot deep trench. Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks were working when the trench collapsed breaking an adjacent fire hydrant supply line causing the trench to fill in seconds.

This led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to investigate their employer Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc. They found, the company failed to provide basic safeguards against collapse and did not train the employees.

OSHA's inspection determined that Atlantic Drain and owner Kevin Otto, who oversaw the work on the day of the fatalities, did not:

- Install a support system to protect employees in an approximately 12-foot deep trench from a cave-in and prevent the adjacent fire hydrant from collapsing.

- Remove employees from the hazardous conditions in the trench.

- Train the workers in how to identify and address hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.

- Provide a ladder at all times so employees could exit the trench.

- Support structures next to the trench that posed overhead hazards.

- Provide employees with hardhats and eye protection.

Atlantic Drain was cited back in 2007 and 2012 by OSHA for similar hazards. This time, OSHA cited the company for 18 violations and is proposing $1,475,813 in penalties for the violations. In February, a grand jury of Suffolk County indicted Atlantic Drain and company owner, Kevin Otto, on two counts each of manslaughter and other charges in connection with the deaths.

Atlantic drain has 15 working days from the receipt of citations and proposed penalties to contest if it chooses to do so.

Hopefully now the company will take responsibility and provide safe and healthful working conditions for their employees.

If you've been hurt on the job, click here to contact us. 

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The Bainbridge Firm, LLC

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