Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02-15
Tues., Jan. 29, 2002
Contact: Les Grove
Phone: (813) 626-1177
Media Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne
Tampa Worker's Death Brings $112,000 OSHA Fine
for Chattanooga-Based Contractor
TAMPA, Fla. --- The failure of the Dillard Smith Construction Company to protect employees from electrical hazards that resulted in the death of a worker has led to citations alleging willful and serious violations issued Friday to the company by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Proposed penalties total $112,000.
The July 25 electrocution occurred near the Tampa, Fla., intersection of Big Bend Road and U.S. 41 where Dillard Smith employees were replacing equipment on six Tampa Electric Company high voltage transmission lines. Working from a raised metal aerial basket, a lineman and lineman-in-training were changing insulators and copper ground wires atop a transmission tower when the trainee used his hand to remove one end of the grounding jumper cable prior to removing it from the 230,000-volt energized line.
OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000 for exposing linemen to electrical hazards caused by improper grounding procedures. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The agency also issued six serious citations with total proposed penalties of $42,000 for failing to conduct job safety briefings; not properly training workers in the use of electrical equipment; not using proper grounding procedures and equipment; not installing upper platform controls in the aerial basket; and not maintaining the required distance between energy lines and aerial baskets. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazards.
OSHA has started a program in Florida to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from hazards of overhead power lines, according to OSHA Area Director Les Grove, in Tampa, whose office conducted the inspection. Agency investigations reveal three common factors in these accidents: inadequate training, supervision and personal protective equipment.
The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company, which employs approximately 750 workers, has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The Tampa OSHA area office is located at 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A; phone: (813) 626-1177.