Electrocution Hazards Cited in OSHA Case

OSHA has proposed more than $70,000 in fines against P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. for hazards at a Massachusetts work site.

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 a release from OSHA. An inspection by OSHA on May 9 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 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."

Gioioso was cited in 2011 for a similar hazard. Based on this previous citation and the employer's knowledge of the hazard, OSHA cited Gioioso for a willful violation that includes $69,300 in proposed fines. Another violation was cited for improper labeling of a trench box, though this violation comes with only a $990 fine.

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