“Profits over safety”: OSHA wants $1.3m in penalties after two workers die in Boston

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totalling just over $1.35m for linked Massachusetts firms after two employees died when a dump truck knocked them into a 2.7m deep trench on 24 February 2021 in Boston.

The victims, Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27 and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33, were not trained to recognise and avoid work-related hazards, OSHA found.

Following its investigation into the deaths, OSHA cited Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., their owner Laurence Moloney and successor company, Sterling Excavation LLC, with 28 wilful, repeated, serious and other-than-serious violations.

OSHA said the entities had a history of health and safety violations. Before the deaths of the two men, OSHA inspected Atlantic Coast Utilities, Advanced Utilities Inc and Shannon Construction six times, citing 14 violations and penalties of more than $81,000, of which $73,542 remained unpaid.

US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said: “Two hardworking people lost their lives because Atlantic Coast Utilities put its own profits over workers’ safety and health.

“The failure of employers to follow federal safety and health regulations designed to keep workers out of harm’s way is absolutely unacceptable. This is yet another reminder of why the department’s mission to protect workers’ rights and ensure safe working conditions is so important.”

James Frederick, OSHA’s acting assistant secretary of labor, said: “While two families still mourn the loss of their loved ones, this employer has ignored safety violations, failed to pay fines and shown a total disregard for the safety of its employees.

"OSHA will use every enforcement and legal tool available to hold scofflaw companies such as this and their owners accountable.”

Sterling Excavation LLC is currently under investigation for a separate ongoing OSHA investigation into a complaint of excavation hazards in Boston.

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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