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Owner of firm overseeing Government Center garage demolition has history of OSHA violations

Owner of firm overseeing Government Center garage demolition has history of OSHA violations

The owner of the company in charge of demolishing the Government Center garage when it partially collapsed last weekend has a history of worker safety violations, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Peter Monsini, a 51-year-old construction worker, was operating an excavator when the garage floor collapsed on Saturday, causing a fatal nine-story fall. Monsini was employed by JDC Demolition, a sub-contractor that was overseeing the demolition.

OSHA, Boston Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office are investigating Monsini’s death at the downtown construction site, as well as any possible negligence by JDC Demolition.

David Howe has owned JDC Demolition since 2012, and a second construction company, the J. Derenzo Company, since 2001. Both companies share an address on Howard Street in Brockton. Howe is not named in OSHA’s online records, but J. Derenzo Company has paid OSHA more than $66,000 since 2013 for creating hazardous working conditions on five construction sites.

Jodi Sugarman-Brozan, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, said J. Derenzo’s worker safety record is troubling.

“OSHA knows the history,” she told GBH News. “It is always concerning when you see companies that have a record of unsafe work conditions working these huge projects.”

Sugarman-Brozan said that Monsini is the 67th construction worker in the state to die from on-the-job injuries in the last five years.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health also issued a statement saying how dangerous demolition work is, requiring frequent safety inspections to prevent collapses.

“At worksites like the garage, the strength of the floors should have been evaluated and known so employers know how much machinery and debris can safely be on a floor,” the workers coalition wrote.

Four years ago, a worker for J. Derenzo was killed while operating an excavator during construction of the Encore casino in Everett. OSHA did not find any violations by the company related to that fatality.

After GBH News reached out to Howe, a spokeswoman for J. Derenzo and JDC Demolition, Jessica Tocco, responded by email, saying that the companies have incurred no OSHA violations in the last four years while its construction workers logged more than three million hours.

That is true, but JDC Demolition has been under OSHA scrutiny with at least seven inspections since 2013 — three of them triggered by worker complaints. The company successfully fought OSHA to withdraw two fines totaling more than $17,000. J. Derenzo has seen six OSHA inspections since 2018, according to the federal agency’s website.

Both companies posted about Monsini’s death on social media, saying that they were “deeply saddened by the tragic incident” and that “there are no words that appropriately describe the loss.”

JDC Demolition is a subcontractor on the $408 million redevelopment of the parking garage into a 43-story office tower. The developer is HYM Investments and the general contractor is John Moriarty and Associates. JDC’s website describes the project in detail, stating how they are removing beams and concrete slabs that weigh more than 95,000 pounds and using saws and cranes during off-hours because the garage was still being actively used for parking.

State Rep. Michelle DuBois, a Brockton Democrat, told GBH News that people in her district are grieving for Monsini and his family.

“We’re really hurting here in Brockton. Peter Monsini went to Brockton Public Schools and graduated from Brockton High in 1988,” she said.

DuBois also said the state needs to do a better job of protecting construction workers. She has co-authored legislation that would require companies bidding on state and municipal contracts worth over $50,000 to disclose OSHA violations committed in the previous four years.

“If someone is undercutting bids because they’re undercutting safety measures, the market then goes down to that level. And that’s what we don’t want,” said DuBois. “We want to set a high enough standard for safety that they don’t get the contract unless they are standing up at that level of safety.”


https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2022/03/29/owner-of-firm-overseeing-government-center-garage-demolition-has-history-of-osha-violations