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When construction companies cut safety corners, it's the workers who suffer

A Boston-area construction company has recently come under scrutiny for ignoring safety regulations and repeatedly placing its workers in danger - ultimately, leading to a fatal accident last month.

The drain service and repair company was doing work in the South End when a water line burst, flooding the work trench with water. Two employees drowned. The company apparently didn't provide a trench box - an anti-collapse measure that would have saved the two men.

A history of repeated safety problems

This tragic accident, it turns out, didn't happen out of the blue. A look at the company's safety record reflects that it was repeatedly tempting fate. For example, the company was cited for:

  • Failing to ensure adequate oxygen levels for underground workers
  • Failing to provide protections against trench cave-ins
  • Failing to have a rescue team available for underground workers
  • Failing to properly train workers on safety measures

At the time of the fatal accident, the company had tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines.

The tragic toll of these terrible oversights

Like other types of construction work, cleaning and repairing drainage lines is dangerous. Workers are often underground, toiling over long hours in claustrophobic conditions. The list of hazards they encounter on a daily basis is numerous. In addition to cave-ins and trenches collapses, workers must also be equipped to handle inadequate oxygen and exposure to toxic sewer gases.

Federal safety regulations exist precisely to counteract these risks. Yet when employers ignore those regulations for the sake of profits - as was apparently the case in this tragic situation - it's the workers who pay the price.

And that price can cost them their lives.

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