The contractor that tore down the landmark Wollaston Theatre must pay the federal government $24,000 in workplace-safety fines after the theater's last-remaining wall collapsed in July, seriously injuring two workers. By Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger
QUINCY, MASS. - The contractor that tore down the landmark Wollaston Theatre must pay the federal government $24,000 in workplace-safety fines after the theater’s last remaining wall collapsed in July, seriously injuring two workers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has issued five citations against Jamie McGuinness & Sons, the Quincy company that knocked down the 90-year-old theater on Beale Street, known locally as The Wolly.
The citations – accompanied by fines totaling $24,301 – stem from an OSHA investigation into the July 12 incident in which a 20-foot-high brick wall collapsed and injured two demolition workers, trapping one of them under a steel beam and a pile of bricks. Both workers were hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
On Wednesday, James Lally, a spokesman for OSHA, said via email that McGuinness & Sons had until this past Tuesday to appeal the citations or request a hearing, but the company did not respond.
Jamie McGuinness, the owner of the demolition company, declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday. He couldn’t be reached Wednesday.
OSHA cited McGuinness & Sons for the following violations:
- Employees were struck by a steel-supported masonry wall while working where the employees did not recognize and avoid the unsafe condition and were allowed to work inside a fall zone by an employer.
- Employees were exposed to explosion and fire-related hazards, while using a torch for cutting, where a flashback arrestor was not in use.
- Employees were exposed to fall hazards of up to 25 feet, while working on a boom lift, where body belts or harnesses were not used.
- Employees were struck by a steel-supported masonry wall being demolished where the columns were overstressed and were not adequately supported.
- Employees were struck by a steel-supported masonry wall where the competent person allowed employees to continue to work in a fall zone where hazards existed without being corrected by shoring, bracing or other effective means.
McGuinness’ company was hired by theater owner Miao Kun “Michael” Fang to knock down The Wolly, which had been closed since 2003 due to concerns over the building’s structural integrity. The beloved landmark was completely torn done in July, and McGuinness & Sons finished clearing the site last month.
Stephen Crawford, Fang’s spokesman, emailed a prepared statement when asked about Fang’s reaction to his contractor being fined by OSHA.
“We appreciate the diligent work of the OSHA inspectors and the speed in which they concluded their investigation,” the statement said. “We are particularly thankful that the two workers were not seriously injured.”
Prior to the most-recent OSHA violations, which were issued on Sept. 1, McGuinness & Sons had already agreed to pay a fine for an earlier violation on the theater-demolition project. On Aug. 5, OSHA signed a settlement with McGuinness & Sons in which the contractor agreed to pay $1,960 for operating an excavator with a back-up alarm that was not working properly during a June 13 inspection.
Initially, OSHA had fined the company $5,600 for a pair of violations from the June 13 inspection. However, one of the violations was later dismissed and the fine relating to the back-up alarm was reduced.