Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Contractors Cited by OSHA Following Electrocution Death At Maine Jobsite

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited two contractors - J&S Carpentry of Columbia, Maine, and Irving Equipment Inc. of Hampton, N.H. - for 15 alleged violations of safety standards following the electrocution death of an employee at a Hermon, Maine, residential construction site.

On Sept. 12, 2007, an Irving crane contacted an energized 7,200 volt overhead power line as two J&S Carpentry employees were attempting to attach the crane's rigging equipment to a section of a modular home that was being constructed at 28 Lily Lane in Hermon. One of the employees was killed and the other seriously injured by the electric current.

OSHA's inspection found that the crane was being operated within 10 feet of the power line, which had not been de-energized beforehand, as required. The two contractors face a combined total of $121,500 in proposed fines.

"The basic safeguards designed to prevent just this sort of accident were ignored here, with fatal results," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "De-energizing the power line and maintaining a safe working distance from it would have prevented this death and injury."

J&S Carpentry, for whom the employees worked, was issued two willful citations for allowing employees to work in close proximity to the energized power line and for not protecting employees against fall hazards. OSHA also issued the company four serious citations for a lack of on-site medical attention; absence of hardhats and electrical warning signs; and ladder hazards. J&S Carpentry faces a total of $32,000 in proposed fines for these conditions.

Irving Equipment, which owned and operated the crane, has been issued three repeat citations for operating the crane in high winds, inadequate support for the crane's outriggers, and not inspecting the job site to identify and correct these and other hazards. OSHA had cited the company in May 2005 for similar hazards at a Freeport, Maine, job site.

Irving Equipment also has been issued six serious citations for operating the crane within 10 feet of the power line; not operating the crane in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and industry standards; and lack of fall protection, hardhats, on-site medical attention and an electrical warning sign. Irving Equipment faces a total of $89,500 in proposed fines for these conditions.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bangor District Office.

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