Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-086
Monday, May 10, 1999
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE : (617) 565-2075
EAST GREENWICH, RI, EMPLOYER CITED BY OSHA IN CONNECTION WITH ELECTROCUTION DEATH OF TRUCK DRIVER AT NORTH KINGSTOWN CONSTRUCTION SITE; $75,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Atlantic Coast Construction, Inc., of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, for alleged SERIOUS and WILLFUL workplace safety violations as the result of the agency's investigation of an accident at a construction site in North Kingstown, RI, which took the life of a truck driver in March. OSHA is proposing penalties totaling $75,000 for the alleged violations.
According to Kipp Hartmann, OSHA area director for Rhode Island, on March 8, 1999, his office began an investigation at a construction site on Glen Hill Drive in North Kingstown, RI, where an employee of Fiore Concrete had been delivering concrete products to an Atlantic Coast jobsite when the crane attached to the boom-truck he was driving struck a power line and he was electrocuted.
Said Hartmann: "Atlantic Coast Construction was the general contractor on this site and, as such, had the responsibility to ensure that the jobsite was safe for its own employees as well as for any other workers coming onto the site for any reason. Employers in the construction industry are well aware of their responsibilities in this area, and this employer is no exception. Quite simply, this was a tragic accident that could have been avoided had this employer taken basic precautions to ensure worker safety on this jobsite."
He noted that the company is being cited for the following alleged safety violations:
One alleged WILLFUL violation including a proposed penalty of $70,000 for allowing the set up and operation of a truck and trailer with a crane within 10 feet of overhead energized power lines. The lines had not been de-energized and visibly grounded, nor had insulating barriers been erected to prevent physical contact with the lines. ($70,000 is the maximum allowable penalty for an alleged willful violation.)
One alleged SERIOUS violation carrying a proposed penalty of $5,000 for failing to adequately train employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions in the work environment and in the regulations applicable to the hazards which may be encountered during the operation of cranes in the area of energized power lines.
Hartmann urged Rhode Island employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Providence. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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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.