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OSHA proposes fining contractor $1.2m in fatal accident at downtown garage

An investigation found another worker was warned of unsafe conditions before a construction worker plunged to his death during demolition work.

Peter Monsini fell to his death while working on a partially demolished floor at the Government Center Garage in March.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

A Brockton demolition company knowingly sent Peter Monsini onto a partially demolished floor at the Government Center Garage in March, and disregarded weight limits that could have saved the construction worker from plunging 80 feet to his death, according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency fined JDC Demolition Co. a proposed $1.2 million — which would be among the largest such fines in recent years in Massachusetts — and cited the company with 11 safety violations, including eight “willful-serious” violations, for creating unsafe working conditions and not adequately training its workers at the demolition site.

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“JDC Demolition Company Inc. knew the heavy equipment on the partially demolished floors were over the weight limits and still allowed a worker, unaware of the hazards, to do demolition work,” said OSHA regional administrator Galen Blanton in a statement. “This willful and egregious disregard for safety cost a worker’s life and exposed other employees to potentially fatal hazards.”

OSHA has also cited Winchester-based John Moriarty & Associates — the project’s general contractor — with four serious violations and fined it $58,008. A general contractor typically hires subcontractors, like JDC, to complete specialized work on a construction project.

Workers with JDC returned to the site of the Government Center Garage in June several months after a demolition collapse killed Peter Monsini. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The fine is one of the largest proposed by the federal work-safety agency in recent years in the Boston area. Last year, OSHA proposed fining Atlantic Coast Utilities $1.35 million following the deaths of two workers in downtown Boston, and in 2017, it proposed $1.5 million in fines to Atlantic Drain Service Co. after two workers died on the job.

It’s far larger than the typical fine levied by the agency, even in fatal accidents. Last year, OSHA proposed an average fine of $17,610 for employers of workers who died on the job in Massachusetts, with an average final fine of $11,298, according to a report from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Employers have a 15-day period to decide whether they will pay or contest their proposed OSHA fines.

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March 26 was Monsini’s first day on the job with JDC Demolition, the OSHA investigation found. He was operating an 11,000-pound excavator on the garage’s eighth floor when the partially demolished floor collapsed, sending Monsini plummeting. He died at the scene.

That very morning, another heavy equipment operator had raised concerns about the safety of the eighth floor and an upper floor to a foreman, OSHA’s investigation found. Monsini was assigned to operate the excavator anyway, and received no safety briefing or any training on the demolition plan, OSHA found.

Paul E. Mitchell, an attorney representing the Monsini estate, said the OSHA citations supported their investigation and a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family.

“We intend to hold the defendants financially responsible,” Mitchell said.

That lawsuit was filed in July against Moriarty and The HYM Investment Group, a developer of Bulfinch Crossing, which is being built above the Government Center Garage and on land around it. Just over two weeks later, an arm of National Real Estate — another Bulfinch Crossing developer — sued Moriarty and JDC for breach of contract, negligence, and contractual and common law indemnity. And later in August, the wrongful-death lawsuit was amended to name an affiliate of National Real Estate Advisors and GZA GeoEnvironmental as defendants.

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In the decade since its founding, JDC has tackled numerous high-profile demolition projects, including the Salem Harbor Power Station, the former Filene’s department store building in downtown Boston, and the former middle and high schools in Duxbury. Tuesday’s filing is the first time OSHA regulators have found JDC in violation of OSHA standards, a company spokesperson said.

“JDC Demolition takes the safety and security of their employees extremely seriously and remains deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a team member,” spokesperson Lizzy Guyton said in a statement. “JDC Demolition historically has had an excellent safety record. They have fully cooperated with OSHA’s investigation and are carefully reviewing the citations, and will contest them as appropriate.”

Demolition work at the Government Center garage resumed.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Moriarty on Tuesday said the citations do not accurately reflect safety protocols it had in place and has followed throughout the garage demolition.

“While the events of March 26th are tragic, our jobsite has consistently exceeded the requirements of both city ordinances and OSHA guidelines,” the contractor said, adding that it will appeal the citations.

A Florida-based subsidiary of Moriarty in late May was ordered to pay $157 million as part of the $1 billion lawsuit settlement following the May 2021 collapse of a South Florida condominium building, where 98 people died.

After the fatal collapse at the Government Center Garage, demolition work paused for several months before resuming in July. It’s part of the multibillion-dollar Bulfinch Crossing mixed-use project, which will ultimately create four buildings and take down the portion of the garage that hangs over Merrimac Street. A luxury residential tower is open, while a high-rise office tower — the future home of State Street Corp. and InterSystems Corp. — is nearly complete.

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The demolished garage will make way for a planned 12-story lab building atop the Haymarket MBTA station. While investigating Monsini’s death this summer, engineers found a deteriorated support column in tunnels beneath the Haymarket T, prompting an immediate and chaotic shutdown of the Orange and Green Lines surrounding the station.


Catherine Carlock can be reached at catherine.carlock@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.