News Release

Proper planning, safeguards could have prevented New Bedford dock collapse, US Department of Labor inspection finds

Connecticut-based Mohawk Northeast Inc. faces $214K in OSHA penalties

BRAINTREE, MA – A Connecticut marine and heavy construction contractor could have prevented the October 2023 collapse of a 200-foot section of pier on Hervey Tichon Avenue in New Bedford — which plunged five workers into the Acushnet River and injured two of them — by adhering to legally required safety standards, a U.S. Department of Labor inspection has determined. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that Mohawk Northeast Inc. of Plantsville did not determine if the pier’s walking and working surfaces had the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely with the weight of materials and equipment on it. OSHA issued the company a willful citation and assessed $161,323 in proposed penalties.

The agency also proposed an additional $53,004 in penalties for four serious violations related to potential fall, drowning and struck-by hazards posed by the employer’s failure to do the following:

  • Provide fall protection for employees working on the pier.
  • Anchor or secure a crawler crane to the barge effectively to prevent its shifting. 
  • Provide life jackets for employees working on the pier and an adjacent barge.
  • Protect or mark the crane’s swing radius to prevent it from striking employees.

“Mohawk Northeast Inc. had a responsibility to determine if the pier was structurally sound and ensure other required safeguards before placing its employees and equipment on the pier, but it chose not to do so. Proper planning and preparation could have prevented the pier’s collapse. While fortunate that no fatalities occurred, the company still exposed employees needlessly to potentially fatal and disabling injuries,” said OSHA Area Director James Mulligan in Braintree, Massachusetts.

The proposed penalties total $214,327. View the citations OSHA issued to Mohawk Northeast Inc.

Mohawk Northeast Inc. is a construction contractor specializing in heavy and marine construction, as well as tugboat transportation. It has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
April 11, 2024
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Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Media Contact: James C. Lally
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