OSHA Seeks $1.2M Fine From Demolition Firm in Fatal Boston Garage Collapse

September 28, 2022

A heavy equipment operator doing demolition on the eighth floor of the Government Center garage in downtown Boston died on March 26, 2022, when the partially demolished floor collapsed, and the 11,000-pound excavator and its operator fell 80 feet. It was the employee’s first day on the job.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, its inspection found that Brockton-based contractor JDC Demolition Co.. Inc. failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.

As a result, OSHA has cited the company for 11 violations of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $1,191,292 in penalties.

Specifically, on the morning of the collapse, OSHA said that another heavy equipment operator, who had started demolition on a concrete beam on an upper floor bay, told the foreman they had concerns about the floor’s safety. Despite the employee raising safety concerns, a second employee was assigned to operate the excavator. That worker, the deceased, never received a safety briefing and was not trained to follow the engineer’s demolition plan.

OSHA also found that JDC Demolition deviated from the demolition plan by imposing unsafe loads, in the form of heavy equipment, on the partially demolished seventh, eighth and ninth floors. The demolition plan prohibited the placement of heavy equipment on partially demolished floor bays.

OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston said JDC knew the heavy equipment on the partially demolished floors exceeded the weight limits and still allowed a worker, unaware of the hazards, to do demolition work. “This willful and egregious disregard for safety cost a workers’ life and exposed other employees to potentially fatal hazards,” Blanton said.

OSHA also cited John Moriarty and Associates Inc., the demolition project’s general contractor, for four violations with $58,008 in proposed penalties, including for failing to ensure that partially demolished floors were of sufficient strength to support the mechanical equipment and that employees were trained to recognize and avoid overloading of floors during demolition.

Both employers have 15 business days fo comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Photo: Investigators use Boston Fire Tower Ladder 3 to inspect the damage, Sunday, March 27, 2022, the morning after a partial collapse of the Government Center Garage caused the death of a construction worker in Boston. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP)

Topics Workers' Compensation

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