A settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor and Mass Bay Electrical Corp. commits the East Boston electrical contractor to extensive corrective action to prevent future deaths and injuries and establishes a training fund in the memory of Joseph Boyd III and John Loughran, who were killed when a crane toppled in Bourne on April 12, 2014.

Harnesses didn't help

The two men, members of Local 104 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, were working atop a personnel platform raised on truck-mounted crane when the crane overturned and fell approximately 140 feet with both men harnessed to it, killing both men. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Mass Bay Electrical for, among other things, not training employees properly or evaluating their ability to operate the crane properly. The company also failed to follow the manufacturer's procedures for safely operating the crane. The company contested the citations initially but has now reached a settlement with the Labor Department.

"The deaths of Joseph Boyd III and John Loughran should never have occurred. Effective and ongoing training of employees and adherence to the clear safety requirements set forth by the equipment's manufacturer are critical in preventing fatalities like these from happening again. This settlement requires Mass Bay Electrical Corp. to take stringent, detailed, continual and effective corrective action," said Kim Stille, OSHA's New England regional administrator.

"More than a piece of paper"

"This settlement is more than a piece of paper. It sets benchmarks, requires follow-through and is enforceable through the courts. It also looks to the future. In the names of Joseph Boyd III and John Loughran, it creates a fund to train current and future workers in line project management and safety techniques. Overall, it puts into place a host of mechanisms the goal of which is to ensure that other workers - and their families - never experience such needless loss of lives in the future," said Michael Felsen, the regional solicitor of labor for New England.

Under the terms of the settlement, Mass Bay Electrical Corp. agrees to repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act for failing to comply with the manufacturer's instructions for safely operating the crane and for failing to ensure that operators were properly evaluated or trained, and to a number of other serious violations. The company will pay an amended penalty of $136,000. In addition to the violations and monetary penalties, Mass Bay also agrees to perform a number of corrective actions designed to prevent future accidents, including extensive certification and training for management and employees on crane and aerial lift operations and safety standards, committing both to regular internal and independent safety audits, developing an in-house safety committee, requiring field managers to be journeymen linemen on worksites where linemen work, and providing regular notification to OSHA of utility work projects.

Endowment fund established

A unique aspect of the settlement is the requirement for Mass Bay Electrical Corp. to establish an endowment fund in the names of Joseph Boyd III and John Loughran to provide scholarships to workers interested in obtaining training and education in the fields of line construction project management and safety. The company will provide at least $3,000 in annual contributions to the fund for the next 10 years and at least $5,000 in annual contributions for the succeeding decade. The fund will be administered in cooperation with IBEW Local 104.

The original inspection was conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office. The settlement was negotiated for OSHA by attorneys Nathan P. Goldstein and Mark A. Pedulla of the regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston. It can be viewed here*.