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OSHA, MA Contractor Settle for $200K

Friday, November 9, 2012

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A “recidivist” Boston contractor with a “long history” of federal safety violations has agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and “significantly overhaul” its safety practices to settle a series of violations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday (Nov. 8).

P. Gioioso & Sons Inc., of Hyde Park, agreed to the settlement with the Department of Labor to resolve excavating violations that exposed its employees to cave-in hazards.

Founded in 1962, the general contractor works predominantly with public entities. Its business includes underground water and sewer mains, water and sewerage treatment plants, tunnels, marine work, bridges, roads, and hydroelectric turbines.

P Gioioso & Sons trenching operation
P Gioiosa & Sons Inc.

The company works extensively on public underground water and sewer mains for public entities.

The company did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.

9 Cases, 12 Years

OSHA has cited P. Gioioso nine times since 2000 for violations of OSHA's trenching and excavation safety standards, most recently in 2011 at work sites in Cambridge and Framingham.

In those cases, inspectors found employees working in unprotected trenches at both locations and issued citations carrying $354,000 in proposed fines. Gioioso contested the citations.

OSHA’s regional solicitor's office crafted the settlement agreement, which goes beyond simple correction of the cited hazards, the agency said.

P Gioioso & Sons bridge project

For the next three years, the company must notify OSHA of all excavation jobs and allow inspectors free access to the site without a warrant.

"The company will be paying a hefty fine, but more importantly, it will be investing heavily in the safety and health of all of its workers through a very significantly ramped-up safety and health program," said Christine Eskilson, OSHA's counsel in the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston.

"This company has now committed itself to entirely re-engineering its safety and health processes, and we intend to hold the company to that commitment."

Notifications, New Program Required

In addition to paying the fine, Gioioso must:

  • Notify OSHA of all excavation jobs it undertakes in the next three years;
  • Allow OSHA inspectors free access to enter and inspect the work sites without a warrant; and
  • Provide documents related to the work being performed at the sites.

Gioioso also will “develop and put into effect a comprehensive safety and health program that includes an annual audit by an independent, qualified safety and health consultant,” OSHA said.

Finally, the company must “develop and implement a permit system for all of its excavations that will identify and evaluate the hazards of each operation prior to digging, and specify the means by which those hazards will be controlled,” the agency said.

‘Meaningful Commitment’

"We are pleased that this employer has decided to make a meaningful commitment to safety by pledging resources and upgrading its excavation practices, as well as implementing a comprehensive safety and health program," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England.

"We encourage other employers to explore and pursue this approach to better safeguard their employees against everyday work site hazards."

Excavation is considered one of the most dangerous construction operations and is governed in the United States by multiple standards. OSHA offers detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards and resources.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Contractors; General contractors; Government contracts; Health and safety; OSHA; Wastewater Plants

Comment from Mike McCloud, (11/9/2012, 9:15 AM)

How can companies afford to pay "hefty" fines and institute meaningful safety practices. OSHA should be working with all companies in the field, not behind closed doors and show the companies what they want accomplished. Gioisio is going to spend double what the fine is on programs. Why doesn't OSHA allow them to apply the money to safety programs and monitor them closer. It seems neither Gioisio nor OSHA has been doing their job in this case. I think it is just another case of big brother with its hand in our pocket. Who will pay in the long run? Taxpayers.

Comment from George DuPont, (11/9/2012, 10:08 AM)

That is the "OLD" OSHA which would help you to do the right thing with advice, etc. The current OSHA director has stated that everything a company needs to know to do things correctly is contained in the literature that OSHA makes available and it is not their responsibility to advise businesses. They are an "enforcement agency" not an educator and advieor. Welcome to the new America. This is just another form of revenue generaton for the Government.

Comment from Catherine Brooks, (11/9/2012, 10:50 AM)

This is not New America. Criminal laws are clear in America; violators are jailed. Civil laws are clear; violators are fined. Criminals can get out earlier on parole if they "repent" and don't violate laws again. Prisons COST taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars. Why should gross and repetitive violators of civil laws which protect workers (OSHA) not be punished with a double whammy of expected fines and the business expense of developing procedures and new safety equipment which should have been in place anyway? You can't tell me P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. didn't know they were breaking safety laws. They thought the risk was worth the company expense savings. They lost the bet.

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