Employees of P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. were exposed to possible electrocution from working close to energized power lines at a Cambridge, Mass., work site where required safeguards were not used, according to OSHA. A May 9 OSHA inspection found that employees used a trench rod and a fiberglass pole with a metal end to lift overhead power lines, so that workers could move excavating equipment under the lines and onto the work site. The Hyde Park contractor faces $70,290 in proposed fines.
"This employer knew the overhead power lines were dangerous, but did not take steps to protect workers or shield them from contact and electrocution," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "Electricity is swift and deadly. While it is fortunate no one was injured or killed in this case, the hazard of death or disabling burns was real and present."
OSHA cited Gioioso in 2011 for a similar hazard at a Framingham, Mass., work site. Based on the employer's knowledge of the hazard, OSHA has cited Gioioso for a willful violation with $69,300 in proposed fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Another violation, with a $990 fine, was cited for improper labeling of a trench box.
P. Gioioso & Sons has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.