A Boston city councilor is calling for change after a trench collapse that killed two people last week.
“If they have a valid license to do this work, there’s not a lot we can do,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh of the Boston contractors who dug the trench that collapsed, killing two people.
necn Investigates first broke the news last week that Atlantic Drain Services had a history of serious and repeat violations. The construction site where two workers were killed Friday lacked protections including no trench box to brace against collapse. Atlantic Drain Services had been cited for that same violation before and federal records show slapped with more than $100,000 in fines.
Now Councilor Michael Flaherty is calling for change to toughen the law. He wants contractors to be forced to disclose violations and unpaid fines.
Two days before the trench collapse, Flaherty proposed a law to require contractors applying for building permits to sign an affidavit listing their open permits, the addresses, work status and completion date. Now he wants to force contractors to disclose violations and unpaid fines before getting permits.
State Representative Tackey Chan has tried for years to toughen state regulations unsuccessfully and wants more oversight.
“This raises a flag on the permitting process for the reputation of the company to perform the work safely,” Chan said.
Speaking of Atlantic Drain, Chan says, “They never came into compliance because it’s a repeat offense.”
Walsh won’t comment on the trench collapse citing the ongoing investigation by the District Attorney and OSHA.
“I think there are some concerns I have,” Walsh said. “I see a lot of work going on in our city right now. I see some other work in the city as I go around, mostly in private development, there is no safety precaution going on.”
With little to no government oversight and no one forcing companies to pay their fines, necn Investigates is questioning how many inspectors are there and how many permits are revoked due to violations. OSHA says their investigation could take up to 6 months to complete.
“I think there is the larger question on what else is going on in this industry whether it be OSHA fines or consumer complaints,” Chan said.
If you are looking to hire a company, you can check their safety violations with OSHA.