Massachusetts heavy equipment operator cited by US Labor Department's
OSHA after crane comes in contact with power line and injures worker
Barletta Heavy Division faces $91,000 in proposed fines
ANDOVER, Mass. – A Canton-based heavy equipment operator has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards while working on the Hine Bridge replacement project in Amesbury. Barletta Heavy Division Inc. faces proposed fines of $91,000 following a March incident in which one of its cranes struck an overhead power line, injuring a worker.
An inspection by OSHA's Andover Area Office found that multiple incidents of the crane striking power lines had occurred during the course of the Hine Bridge project. In addition, the company did not conduct a hazard assessment, failed to properly identify the work zone with signage and did not ensure that each signal person met qualification requirements prior to giving signals to a crane operator.
"We issued a citation for a willful violation due to the fact that the employer knew of the power line hazard and did not take steps to correct it," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "We learned through interviews that the same crane had struck the same line two other times in the course of a year."
As a result of its findings, OSHA has issued a citation with a $70,000 proposed fine for the willful violation, as well as citations carrying $21,000 in fines for three serious violations involving the additional hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Andover office at 978-837-4460.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.