Honoring Joe and John, fallen Massachusetts linemen
No one should ever have to worry whether a loved one will come home from work alive. The reality, however, is that too many workers in this country are exposed to deadly but avoidable hazards on the job every day.
Joe Boyd III and John Loughran were in the prime of their lives with good careers as members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 104. On April 12, 2014, they left for work and never returned home. This is what happened:
Their employer, Mass Bay Electrical Corp., sent them to work on transmission lines approximately 140 feet off the ground. They were strapped into a personnel basket that was attached to a crane, but had not been adequately trained to work from that crane or otherwise properly prepared. When the crane’s arm moved below the permissible limit, the crane became unstable and tipped over, sending Joe and John plummeting to their deaths.
This kind of tragedy shakes a community, and it demands a response. The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated, finding a number of significant safety violations. In an effort to prevent another such tragedy and to enforce the law, the department ultimately sued Mass Bay for those violations.
This kind of action on our part is not unique, but what’s unusual about this story is the unprecedented way in which the lawsuit was resolved.
Joe and John’s parents told us they wanted their sons to be honored and remembered, both by Mass Bay and the broader community. We in the department’s Office of the Solicitor and our colleagues in OSHA took that request seriously.
So as part of the settlement of the lawsuit – in addition to a host of measures designed to prevent other incidents – the Labor Department required Mass Bay to...Click here to read the rest of the blog post.