OSHA fines Bronx contractor following death of two workers at JFK Airport

ConDig (18-Oct-23).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a Bronx water and sewer line contractor $59,153 following the death of two workers in a trench at a construction site at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The agency said that the fatalities on the site in April could have been prevented if the employer, Triumph Construction Corp., had ensured proper safeguards.

Inspectors found that Triumph Construction failed to support the concrete slab, exposing both employees to the danger of a collapse. It also failed to instruct employees on safe methods to remove the slab and provide supervision to ensure those methods were followed.

Moreover, the agency said that the company did not construct the excavation’s protective system based on designs in accordance with OSHA standards.

“Working in excavations is inherently dangerous. Demolition of existing structures must be carefully planned, and shoring systems must be built according to their design. Employers are obligated to make a good faith effort to recognize, evaluate and control workplace hazards throughout the course of the work and as conditions change, which Triumph did not do,” said Kevin Sullivan, OSHA’s Long Island and Queens area director. 

“Diligent oversite and management of changing worksite conditions could have helped prevent this tragedy from happening.”

Triumph Construction Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA and protecting workers against trenching and excavation hazards.