Creating Unsafe Jobs Will Cost You

July 16, 2019

In the fall of 2016, MassCOSH and Greater Boston were stunned and heartbroken by the deaths of Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks on the job. Working in an unprotected trench deep in the street, a water main burst, drowning the men in a deadly mix of water and gravel. It was a case of employer negligence so egregious that it led to manslaughter charges against the company the men worked for and the owner of the company himself.
Following the loss of Kelvin and Robert, MassCOSH and other labor advocates helped persuade the City of Boston to implement policy to review OSHA safety records of those who seek to trench in the city or secure large, tax-payer funded contracts. The successful push put area businesses on notice that creating unsafe workplaces would now come at the cost of profit.

On June 25, MassCOSH spoke at the State House in support of An Act Relative to Workplace Safety (H1614/S1071). The statewide bill mirrors Boston’s efforts requiring that bidders for all state contracts for supplies and services over $50,000 to disclose if they have been cited by OSHA for safety violations in the last four years. It also specifically requires any contractor seeking a bid for trench work to disclose any previous suspension issue of any kind related to past trench work.

It is our sincere hope that our elected officials honor the memory of Robert and Kelvin by passing this legislation.