OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 05-1654-ATL (234)
Date: Friday, September 23, 2005
Contact: Luis Santiago - (954) 424-0242; John. Deifer - (912) 652-4393
Les Grove - (813) 626-1177; Jo Anne Burgoyne - (404) 562-2076
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pike Electric Inc., Mount Airy, N.C., for exposing workers to serious electrical hazards at four of the company's work sites in Florida and Georgia. The agency is proposing total penalties of $127,000.
"The use of defective equipment and failure to implement safe work practices resulted in serious injuries to workers at three of the four job sites," said Benjamin Ross, OSHA's assistant regional administrator for enforcement programs.
On March 24 at a Sunrise, Fla., site, a journeyman lineman sustained serious electrical burns that necessitated the amputation of both feet and one arm. He was reportedly in an aerial basket, drilling holes in a concrete pole, when an exposed screw head on the boom came in contact with energized lines, causing an electrical current to flow through him.
OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale area office cited the company, and proposed a $35,000 penalty, for allowing employees to work too near power lines. The company had been cited previously for a similar violation. Two serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $12,000, were also issued for using inappropriate equipment to move energized distribution lines and for failing to provide and assure that workers used proper tools and protective equipment.
On March 30, along U.S. Highway 80, near Tybee Island, Ga., an OSHA inspector from the Savannah area office observed workers in two aerial baskets that were too near to power lines. OSHA issued a repeat citation to Pike, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, for allowing equipment and personnel to come within the minimum approach distance of energized lines and for failing to provide workers with adequate protective equipment. Another citation, with a $5,000 proposed penalty, was issued for using defective personal protective equipment while working on energized power lines.
Another Pike employee's hands were seriously burned on May 13 at a Melbourne, Fla., residential work site. This worker, also in an aerial basket, without proper personal protective equipment, came in contact with an energized overhead distribution line. The Tampa OSHA office issued a repeat citation with a proposed penalty of $35,000.
The Ft. Lauderdale area office also initiated an inspection on June 28, at a Hobe Sound, Fla., job site after an employee sustained second and third degree burns. OSHA cited the company for permitting an employee to work without flame retardant clothing in an area where flash fires or electrical arcing were known to occur. The agency is proposing a $5,000 penalty.
The company has 15 days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov, or call the Atlanta regional office at (404) 562-2300.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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