Contractor Cited Over Worker Deaths Violates OSHA Rules Again

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A contractor cited in the deaths of two workers in a construction incident last February faces a new round of violations and penalties of $624,777 for workers in an unprotected excavation for less than six months more later, according to the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc. faces fines of $1.35 million following the deaths of two workers on February 24, 2021 in Boston after being hit by a dump truck and falling into a 9 feet deep. Among the violations of this incident was the lack of adequate protection against collapses.

OSHA says it responded to a complaint Aug. 13 about the same contractor at a residential construction site in East Boston where workers were in a trench. In this case, Laurence Moloney, dba Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., and Nuala Nichoncubhair, dba Sterling Excavation, and their successors face fines of $624,777 for the following alleged violations:

  • The workers were in a foundation excavation with straight-cut earth walls without shoring, trench box or other protection against collapse.
  • There were no support systems to provide stability to adjacent buildings and earthen walls, exposing workers to collision and collision hazards.
  • Workers were not protected from rocks or loose soil falling into the excavation.
  • The employer failed to ensure that a competent person identified a manhole as a confined space that could present a potential hazard.
  • The employer failed to conduct regular and frequent site inspections to identify and eliminate hazards associated with falling overhead objects and being caught between and struck by equipment.
  • Workers were insufficiently trained to recognize and avoid the hazards they faced.
  • A worker exposed to potential head injuries was wearing a helmet with a damaged support band.
  • There were no fire extinguishers in the building to protect workers from fire hazards.

A history of offenses

Moloney and associated companies have a history of OSHA violations, including a double death.

On February 24, 2021, Atlantic Coast Utilities/Advanced Utilities of Wayland, Massachusetts, was performing an emergency sewer repair in downtown Boston. An Atlantic Coast Utilities dump truck was backing up and hit Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27, and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33. This caused them to fall into the excavation.

Rescuers found them at the bottom of the hole and they were pronounced dead at the scene.

Moloney and his companies, which also include Shannon Construction Corporation and Sterling Excavation, face 28 violations and penalties of $1,350,884 for the incident, and they are contesting the penalties.

Moloney was also charged with perjury for allegedly lying about his company’s OSHA safety record to the City of Boston in connection with obtaining the position. Moloney, 57, pleaded not guilty and was released without bond. A Moloney’s employee, Konstantino Kollias, 35, is accused of also submitting a false affidavit to the city regarding the security record.

OSHA also fined the contractor for 14 previous violations, totaling $81,242. However, $73,542 of these fines have not been paid and have been subject to debt collection.

The Suffolk County Prosecutors Office is investigating the deaths. The same office won a 2019 conviction against Kevin Otto and Atlantic Drain Service for a double death in 2016. In that incident, a 12-foot-deep trench collapsed on two workers, then a fire hydrant went up. burst, causing flooding of the trench.

OSHA calls Moloney a “serial violator.”

“Less than six months after being cited for gross willful violations in the deaths of two employees in an excavation, this serial offender has again put employees at risk of potentially fatal collapse and collision,” Galen said. Blanton, regional administrator for OSHA in Boston. “While Laurence Moloney may reincorporate and operate under a variety of names, what is consistent is her tendency to willfully violate safety and health requirements, ignore OSHA citations and penalties, and constantly putting employees at risk.”

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