Region 9 News Release: 13-2495-SAN (SF-6)
Jan. 21, 2014
Contact: José A. Carnevali
US Labor Department's OSHA cites American Samoa construction company
following electrocution fatality
Employer cited with serious violations involving unsafe crane operation
HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited McConnell Dowell Constructors in Pago Pago, American Samoa, with nine serious violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA began its inspection after a worker was electrocuted on July 10, 2013, during a crane operation.
"OSHA standards prohibit working close to energized power lines," said Galen Blanton, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office. "This tragic death could have been prevented if a safe distance was maintained between the crane and the live power line."
Several workers were building a two-lane bridge at a job site in Leone Village when a crane attempted to move a large, concrete tribar within 10 feet of an unsleeved 7,600-volt power line. A worker acting as a signalman motioned for the crane operator to stop. The crane's hook was near the energized overhead line and when the worker approached the crane, placing his hands on the crane, he was electrocuted.
OSHA cited the employer with nine serious violations of safety standards, including failure to determine the safe working distances when workers were operating a crane close to high-voltage power lines. The company was also cited for failing to ensure that at least one electrocution hazard warning label was affixed in the crane cab within view of the operator and that at least two were posted on the outside of the crane before use.
Other serious violations include failure to provide workers with personal floatation devices while working in or near water; to conduct and document monthly crane inspections; ensure that a crane operator had access to load charts and other safety procedures; and identify a crane's safety boundaries to prevent employees from entering hazard areas. McConnell Dowell Constructors also failed to ensure that each signalman met the qualification requirements before giving any signals. The employer faces $42,300 in proposed fines for the violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/McConnellDowellConstructors_918364_Citations.pdf*
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 800-321-6742 or the agency's Honolulu Area Office at 808-541-2680. For employers in American Samoa, OSHA has arranged for its publications and other materials to be available at American Samoa Community College. To obtain these, contact Michael A. Le'au, dean of the college's Trades and Technology Division, by telephone at 684-699-9155, ext. 369, or by mail to P.O. Box 2609, Mapusaga, American Samoa 96799.
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.
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 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.