Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More On The Boston Scaffold Collapse

The Boston Globe has more on yesterday's scaffold collapse that killed two workers and a bystander. Upsetting, but unfortunately, not unusual.

First, no one's minding the store anymore:
No governmental agency in Massachusetts is responsible for regularly inspecting movable scaffolding like the equipment that crashed onto Boylston Street and killed three people, the city of Boston's chief building inspector said yesterday.

Gary Moccia said that the state previously regulated such platforms and required a specific permit for them. But he said that the agency responsible was dismantled and that no other agency has stepped into the breach. The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration usually does not inspect unless there is an accident, he said.
Second, the general contractor, Macomber Builders, is operating under the delusion that it's a model of safety.
Macomber Builders, the South Boston firm in charge of the project, has paid or agreed to pay $14,012 in fines for four serious safety violations and four less serious ones since April 2001, according to the OSHA website. The fines against Macomber were for violating rules governing scaffolding and protecting workers from falls and excavation, among others, according to the OSHA website. OSHA initially sought much higher fines for more violations, but after customary settlement talks the fines were lowered.

He said his company has an exemplary safety record. "Generally, OSHA is very pleased with us," he said. "We try very carefully to keep safe jobs, and they have a very rigorous OSHA inspection program, as do our own vendors and subcontractors. So, typically, we're held up as a model of safety."


Macomber said his company's insurance firm has a safety officer who oversees ''an extensive safety program." But asked whether the company employed its own safety director, Macomber demurred.
And the subcontractor isn't much better:
OSHA records also show that Bostonian Masonry, an East Walpole, Mass., subcontractor on the project, agreed to pay $22,150 in fines for 20 serious violations and two less serious ones in the last five years. The violations include multiple violations of scaffolding safety requirements, according to the OSHA website.
I'm sure there's more to come.