OSHA fines Pennichuck

NASHUA – Pennichuck Corp. was fined $52,750 by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday for allegedly failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards during a Main Street water main break in January.

OSHA inspectors found workers exposed to cave-ins from both undermined pavement and an unprotected trench. OSHA issued the company three separate citations, which Pennichuck can contest in court.

The biggest citation – which carries at $49,000 fine – was a “willful” violation for failure to protect employees working in a trench from a potential cave-in.

Pennichuck did not have an adequate protective system like sloping or shoring, according to David May, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one in which there is “intentional disregard of” or “plain indifference to” OSHA safety requirements. The two other alleged violations are deemed “serious” and total $3,750 in fines.