Cal/OSHA has issued citations to an outdoor advertising company for serious safety violations after a worker suffered third-degree burns when a metal pole he was using to install a sign on a billboard came into contact with an overhead power line.
On February 6, two sign hangers for Outfront Media were working 25 feet above ground on the billboard’s platform to install a vinyl sign. The workers were using 11-foot poles to place the 14-by-48-foot sign. One of the metal poles touched an energized high-voltage power line located near the edge of the billboard, which resulted in serious burns to 25 percent of the sign-hanger’s body.
“Employers must identify and evaluate all hazards in the workplace,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “When energized overhead lines are present, the employer must ensure that employees maintain required clearances, or minimum safe distances from the overhead lines, to protect employees from electrical shock or electrocution.”
Cal/OSHA issued three citations to Outfront Media totaling $32,435 in proposed penalties. A serious accident-related citation was issued for the employer’s violation of provisions for preventing accidents due to proximity to overhead lines, which requires a minimum clearance of 6 feet be maintained for work done near 34.5 kilovolt lines. A serious citation was issued for failure to identify and evaluate hazards related to installing signs on billboards in proximity to power lines. Cal/OSHA also issued a general citation to the employer for an inadequate heat illness prevention plan for its outdoor workers.
Since 2015, Cal/OSHA has opened 11 inspections with outdoor and display advertising employers. Among those inspections were six accidents, including an electric shock incident last year when a worker’s ladder came into contact with overhead power lines during preparations to hang a sign.