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OSHA News Release – Region 2
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 2 News Release: BOS 2002-188
Monday, September 9, 2002
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075
SYRACUSE -- Numerous safety infractions, including the failure to ensure that employees wear personal protective equipment and use grounding rollers around high voltage lines, have resulted in $55,500 in proposed fines against telephone service provider Verizon located in Rome, N.Y.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the telecommunications company for alleged serious, repeat and other than serious violations of Occupational Safety and Health Act. The company has until Sept. 26, 2002, to contest the citations.
According to Diane M. Brayden, OSHA's Area Director for Syracuse, the action results from an investigation conducted from March 11, 2002 through July 26, 2002 following a fatal accident in which a lineman was electrocuted while repairing a phone line.
As a result of the inspection, Verizon has been cited for alleged serious violations of OSHA's safety standards, which include a proposed penalty of $30,500. The serious violations included failure to ensure that employees do not approach, come in contact with or take a conductive object close to overhead power lines; failure to ensure employees wear high voltage insulating gloves when required; failure to train employees on safe practices and precautions when performing work in the telecommunications field; failure to ensure employees check electrical impedance on temporary grounds; failure to periodically inspect automotive lifts; failure to maintain throat latches on the hooks of chain hoists; failure to provide approved containers for gasoline and gasoline-oil mixtures; and failure to provide gasoline hoses that were electrically connected to the pumps.
The company was also cited for a repeat violation for failing to provide personal protective equipment, protective devices and special tools needed for the work of employees. The proposed penalty for this violation is $25,000.
A "serious" violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. A "repeat" violation is one for which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office, located at 3300 Vickery Road, North Syracuse, New York. Telephone (315) 451 0808.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565 2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800 347 8029.
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