OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
SEATTLE - The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced today it has issued a Willful citation and a Serious citation against Harp Line Constructors Company, based in Kalispell, Montana, carrying a total of $202,500 in proposed penalties for alleged job safety violations at a worksite in Boise at Oregon Trail and Surprise Way.
Ryan Kuehmichel, OSHA area director in Boise, said the job safety violations were the result of an inspection by the OSHA Boise Area Office after an OSHA compliance officer observed that a current construction project would become increasingly hazardous due to the convergence of many high voltage transmission lines into the Boise substation. Harp Line Constructors Co. and its subcontractor Winco, Inc., had previously been cited for violations of stringing procedures, including two involving fatal accidents.
Harp Line Constructors Co. was the general contractor used to install a conductive fiber optic cable. Winco, Inc., was subcontracted to Harp Line Constructors Co. to perform designated portions of the stringing operation using a helicopter.
Harp Line Constructors Co.'s Willful citation noted the following violations: the ends of grounds were not attached or removed by insulated tools; where work was to be performed at more than one location in a line section, the line was not grounded and short circuited at one location in the line section and the conductor being worked on was not grounded; electrodes being used did not have a resistance to ground low enough to remove the danger of harm to personnel or permit prompt operation of protective devices; bare conductors, subconductors, and overhead conductors were not grounded at the first tower adjacent to both the tensioning and pulling setup during stringing operations; when crossing over energized conductors in excess of 600 volts the line being strung was not grounded on either side of the crossover or considered and worked on as if the line was energized; guard structure members were not sound and of adequate dimension and strength or adequately supported; the grounds were not placed and removed with a hot stick, except for moving type grounds; and clipping crews and others working on conductors, subconductors or over head ground conductors were not protected by individual grounds installed at work locations.
The Serious citation noted the following violations: the truck crane boom was extended within the minimum prescribed approach distance to a 230kv energized transmission line; the truck crane was not provided with an equipment ground while working within the approach distance of energized lines; Guy Grip Dead Ends were used as pulling sock connections against the manufacturer's advice; and pulling equipment used for stringing conductors adjacent to energized lines was not isolated, insulated or effectively grounded.
According to Kuehmichel, the company has 15 working days to contest the citations.
A Willful violation is defined by OSHA as one in which an employer knew that a condition constituted a violation or was aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to correct it.
A Serious violation is defined by OSHA 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.
The Boise OSHA area director may be contacted at 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise, Idaho 83706, telephone 208-321-2960.
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