Contractor Cited in Double Fatality Now Facing $625,000 in New Penalties

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Updated Feb 24, 2022
Less than six months after two workers died in a construction incident in Boston, the contractor is cited by OSHA for excavation violations.
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A contractor cited in the deaths of two employees in a construction incident last February faces a new set of violations and penalties of $624,777 for workers being in an unprotected excavation less than six months later, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc. is facing penalties of $1.35 million following two workers dying February 24, 2021, in Boston after being hit by a dump truck and falling into a 9-foot-deep excavation. Among the violations from that incident was not providing adequate cave-in protection.

OSHA says it responded to a complaint August 13 about the same contractor at a residential construction site in East Boston where workers were in an  trench. In this case, Laurence Moloney, dba Atlantic Coast Utilities LLC/Advanced Utilities Inc., and Nuala Nichoncubhair, dba Sterling Excavation, and their successors face penalties of $624,777 for the following alleged violations:

  • Workers were in a foundation excavation with straight-cut earthen walls that had no shoring, trench box or other protection from cave-in.
  • There were no support systems to ensure the stability of adjoining buildings and earthen walls, exposing workers to struck-by and caught-between hazards.
  • Workers were not protected from loose rock or soil falling into the excavation.
  • The employer did not ensure that a competent person had identified a manhole as a confined space that could be a potential hazard.
  • The employer did not conduct regular and frequent inspections of the jobsite to identify and eliminate hazards associated with falling overhead objects, and getting caught between and struck by equipment.
  • Workers were not adequately trained to recognize and avoid the hazards they faced.
  • A worker exposed to potential head injuries was wearing a hardhat with a damaged support band.
  • There were no fire extinguishers in the building to protect workers from fire hazards.

A history of violations

Moloney and associated companies have a history of OSHA violations, including a double fatality.

On February 24, 2021, Atlantic Coast Utilities/Advanced Utilities of Wayland, Massachusetts, was performing an emergency sewer repair in downtown Boston. An Atlantic Coast Utilities dump truck was being backed up and struck Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27, and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33. That caused them to fall into the excavation.

Emergency responders found them at the bottom of the hole, and they were pronounced dead on the scene.

Moloney and his companies, which also include Shannon Construction Corporation and Sterling Excavation, face 28 violations and penalties of $1,350,884 for that incident, and they are contesting the penalties.

Moloney has also been charged with perjury for allegedly lying about his company’s OSHA safety record to the city of Boston in connection with obtaining the job. Moloney, 57, pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. An employee of Moloney’s, Konstantino Kollias, 35, is accused of also submitting a false affidavit to the city about the safety record.

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OSHA has also fined the contractor for 14 previous violations, totaling $81,242. However, $73,542 of those fines were unpaid and referred to debt collection.

The Suffolk County District Attorneys Office is investigating the fatalities. The same office won a conviction in 2019 against Kevin Otto and Atlantic Drain Service for a double fatality in 2016. In that incident a 12-foot-deep trench collapsed on two workers and then a fire hydrant burst causing the trench to flood.

OSHA calls Moloney a “serial violator.”

“Less than six months after being cited for egregious willful violations in the deaths of two employees in an excavation, this serial violator again exposed employees to potentially fatal cave-in and struck-by hazards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “While Laurence Moloney may reincorporate and operate under a variety of names, what is consistent is his pattern of willfully violating safety and health requirements, ignoring OSHA citations and penalties and persistently placing employees in harm’s way.”