OSHA Finds Excavation Hazards at N.J. School Construction Site

New York contractor faces $197,000 in fines after complaint leads to inspection of site.

Acting on a complaint in June 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found employees of one of Verona, N.J.’s largest general contractors working in an unprotected 10-foot deep excavation at a suburban New Jersey high school, in violation of federal safety and health laws. OSHA announced today it has issued citations for nine violations – one willful and eight serious – to The Landtek Group, a New York-based general contractor that specializes in sports facility design and construction. The company faces $197,752 in fines as a result.

The citations, issued in December 2016, follow an OSHA inspection at Verona High School in Verona on June 22, 2016, where the agency found that Landtek allowed its workers to enter and work in an unprotected, 10-foot deep excavation that had no protective systems in place, as required. Landtek is the general contractor for site improvements at Verona High School, including the construction of new tennis courts and synthetic turf fields.

“Without needed protections in place, an excavation can quickly become a grave as thousands of pounds of soil collapse upon workers below ground. The Landtek Group must re-examine its safety procedures and take all available precautions – including installing shoring or other means – to prevent unexpected movement or collapses of the soil that can lead to disaster,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office.

The contractor was cited with a willful violation for exposing workers to cave-in hazards because the excavation lacked proper cave-in protection or safeguards.

The citations can be viewed at https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TheLandTekGroupInc_1158268.pdf

OSHA has a national emphasis program on trenching and excavations. The trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and soil and other materials kept at least 2 feet from the edge of trench.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Parsippany office at 973-263-1003.

For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.