Company cited, fined over fatality at state transportation office in Northampton

Monday, November 04, 2013
NORTHAMPTON — A Connecticut construction company has been cited and fined $5,800 for the workplace accident that killed a 55-year-old man and injured two other workers at the state Department of Transportation site on North King Street in April.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Trico Welding LLC of Beacon Falls, Conn., failed to provide a firm foundation for a modular building being set up for temporary office space during a remodeling job at DOT’s District 2 site near the Hatfield line.

On April 18, 2013, the two-part trailer shifted while three men were working in the modular unit, trapping them inside and killing Alfred Cabiya of Bristol, Conn.

One worker was taken to Baystate Medical Center and suffered non-life-threatening injuries while a third worker was able to free himself and suffered only minor injuries, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office at the time. Cabiya was trapped and his body extricated several hours after the approximately 9:40 a.m. accident.

“The bases of the hydraulic bottle jacks were not sufficiently blocked and cribbed to provide a firm foundation while blocking and leveling a William Scotsman modular building,” OSHA’s citation documents state. “There were no wood blocks between the caps of the jacks and frame of the trailer to prevent slippage of the jacks.”

OSHA categorized the violation as “serious” and leveled two fines against Trico Welding totaling $5,800. As part of an informal settlement, the company has agreed to correct the violations and pay the fines as part of a 20-month penalty payment plan that begins Nov. 1.

The company’s final $280 monthly payment is due June 2015, at which the time the case will be officially closed, according to the federal agency.

A native of Waterbury, Conn., Cabiya left a wife and two children. His obituary was published in The Bristol Press and stated that he loved to work on cars, dance and cut trees.

“He was an extremely happy person whose goal was to help people and make them happy,” it read.

According to an annual report published by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, 32 workers lost their lives on the job in the state in 2012, including six construction workers, five of whom died from falls.

“The construction industry remains one of the most dangerous for workers,” the report states.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.