US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Las Vegas-based NV Energy following
death of transmission line trainee
LAS VEGAS – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Las Vegas-based NV Energy for seven alleged safety and health violations, including six serious, following an investigation into a worker's death on Sept. 25, 2012.
A lineman in training died when he fell 75 feet from a temporary horizontal ladder used as a platform between a transmission tower and a live 500-kilovolt transmission line. The transmission tower was part of a power grid that crosses the Moapa Paiute Reservation northeast of Las Vegas.
"Working with lines energized at thousands of volts demands expertly trained workers clad in gear that can protect workers from shocks associated with strong electromagnetic fields," said Joy Flack, director of OSHA's Las Vegas Area Office. "NV Energy spelled disaster when it failed to ensure these workers were protected from falling."
The serious violations include failing to provide properly fitting personal protective equipment for each worker. Conductive booties too small were modified by cutting off the top portion and securing it to the work boots with tape, resulting in potential exposure to transient electrical shock and falls. Gloves and conductive suits had holes and tears. Additionally, NV Energy also failed to ensure that fall arrest equipment met required safety rules; ladders and platforms were used in applications other than for which they were designed, such as a ladder used as an anchorage for a personal fall arrest system, although the spliced horizontal ladder was not designed for this purpose; failure to comply with fall protection rules applicable to power transmission lines, which require trainees to use fall protection equipment any time they work more than 4 feet above the ground. 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.
One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to provide OSHA with injury and illness records within four hours of request. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Proposed penalties total $43,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA 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). While the state's OSHA program has authority over most workplace safety and health programs in Nevada, federal OSHA has jurisdiction over employers on Indian reservations.
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.