Advanced Tree Service Cited for Willful, Serious Violations Following Fatality

The Newberry, Fla. company faces $41,000 in proposed penalties.

A tree trimmer was killed when the mechanical arm supporting the bucket of an aerial lift suddenly collapsed, striking the cab of the truck and ejecting the worker onto the pavement. Because of this death, OSHA has cited Advanced Tree Service in Newberry, Fla., for five safety violations, according to an agency news release.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer followed proper safety procedures by performing the mandatory service and maintenance to the aerial lift, as required," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "The only difference between a safe and unsafe act is the level of importance an employer places on doing what is right."

OSHA issued one willful citation for the employer's alleged failure to ensure the worker in the aerial lift had a body belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or the basket. Four serious violations were cited for failure to take an aerial lift out of service that had a frayed cable that had not been rebuilt in 15 years and to mark lift controls properly. OSHA also cited the company for allowing workers to use chain saws without eye protection and for not ensuring that employees working in an area where tree limbs were cut wore head protection.

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