US Labor Department reaches settlement agreement with
Verizon New York Inc. to increase training, safeguards for field technicians
Telecommunications company cited by OSHA in 2012 following worker's death in Brooklyn
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement that resolved litigation with Verizon New York Inc., which stemmed from citations issued to the telecommunications company in March 2012. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations in connection with the fatal electrocution of an employee on Sept. 14, 2011, in Brooklyn. Under the agreement, two repeat violations and one serious violation are affirmed, with a penalty of $147,000, and the telecommunications company will provide enhanced electrical safety training and other safeguards to its New York field technicians who install suspension strand on utility poles that carry power lines.
"While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It commits Verizon New York to provide enhanced and specific training for its field technicians on the hazards involved with installing suspension strand on utility poles carrying power lines. Such training will also reinforce management's commitment to safe practices."
The fatality occurred when the field technician came into contact with an energized power line while he worked from an aerial lift bucket. The project was to install steel suspension strand on a joint use pole, which carries both telecommunications and power lines. OSHA's Manhattan Area Office inspection found that the field technicians in Brooklyn at Verizon's Avenue H garage were not adequately trained, did not wear rubber protective gloves and did not ground the suspension strand.
Verizon New York agrees to provide an electrical safety training module for its field technician trainees at its line schools in New York and will provide in-service training to current field technicians who install suspension strand. The hands-on, demonstrative and interactive training will focus on electrical safety in joint use environments, including the grounding of suspension strand, wearing rubber insulated gloves, and procedures for installing suspension strand where obstructions exist. Verizon New York will also provide supplemental training to local and area managers and notify OSHA when training has been instituted, keep records of the training and provide them to OSHA upon request.
The settlement has been filed with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and was negotiated for OSHA by attorneys of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.
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 Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200.
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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Perez v. Verizon New York Inc. (respondent) and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO (authorized employee representative) OSHRC docket # 12-0768
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.