NJ Developer, Subcontractors Cited After OSHA Finds Employees Working Close to Energized Power Lines

NJ Developer, Subcontractors Cited After OSHA Finds Employees Working Close to Energized Power Lines

The three companies face citations and proposed penalties.

One developer and two subcontractors in New Jersey were recently cited after metal scaffolding, which employees were on, was found only five feet from energized power lines.

Earlier this year, OSHA received a notification from a “local power utility” about a project—with Litana Development Inc. of Wayne as the developer and Prata Construction LLC of Denville and Elite Brothers Construction LLC of Paterson as the contractors—in Paterson, New Jersey, where employees were “too close to nearby power lines,” according to a news release.

These employees were working on a construction project atop metal scaffolding, which was only five feet from high-voltage power lines.

OSHA informed the developer and subcontractors of the hazards and “told them work must not continue,” posting an Imminent Danger Notice at the site, the news release said.

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark granted a temporary restraining order to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Regional Office of the Solicitor to enforce the notice in June. By July 5, Litana and department attorneys entered a consent injunction. Under the negotiated consent injunction, the employees could keep working but had to be at least 11 feet from power lines, according to the news release.

On July 15, ten days later, OSHA said it found workers too close to power lines. By August, “the court entered a more restrictive Modified Consent Injunction which provided for third-party monitoring and physical barriers to ensure that workers would be kept safe,” the news release said.

Each company received citations and proposed penalties from OSHA. Litana Development Inc was cited for three willful violations and proposed penalties of $435,081; Prata Construciton LLC received one willful and two serious violations and proposed penalties of $41,478; and Elite Brothers Construction LLC has one willful and three serious violations and $41,478 in proposed penalties from the incident.

“Litana Development and its subcontractors willfully exposed workers to potentially deadly electrocution hazards by making them work too close to energized power lines," said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York in the news release. "Despite repeatedly being told of the danger involved with this construction project, the companies ignored warnings and even a court order."

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2022

    October 2022

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SAFETY
      Here's Why Constant Bending Can Be Troublesome
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      How Artificial Intelligence in Revolutionizing Jobs
    • PPE: RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Respiratory Protection
    • WINTER HAZARDS
      Managing Cold Stress with the Proper PPE
    View This Issue