Undeterred by cease and desist orders issued by the Long Island Power Authority, three New York contractors exposed their employees to electrocution hazards from working in close proximity to power lines, according to OSHA.
The result: proposed penalties totaling $465,410.
Electrocution hazards accounted for the largest of the fines after inspectors from OSHA's Long Island Area Office found that workers for the three contractors performed their concrete work and crane operations close to energized 13,200-volt overhead power lines. Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp./Alma Realty Corp. of Long Island City was the general contractor on construction of a five-story concrete business and residential building where the violations were found. Masonry Services Inc., doing business as MSI, of Brooklyn, and North Eastern Precast LLC, of Fultonville, were the masonry and concrete subcontractors.
Close proximity to power lines
All three employers were issued willful citations for allowing employees and crane operations in close proximity to the power lines. They were issued serious citations for not marking the power lines with warning signs. MSI and North Eastern Precast were issued serious citations for not assuming the power lines were energized; checking with the utility operator whether lines had been de-energized; training workers on electrocution hazards; having cranes inspected by a qualified person after assembly; marking the crane's swing radius; having protective helmets; and labeled and protected rigging. All three employers were issued serious citations for not marking overhead power lines with warning signs. MSI was issued a repeat citation for unguarded rebar; they were cited in March 2010 for the same hazard at a Brooklyn work site.
In total, Vordonia was issued two willful and one serious citation, with $145,530 in fines; MSI was issued two willful, one repeat and 10 serious citations, with $181,280 in fines; and North Eastern Precast was issued two willful and 10 serious citations, with $138,600 in fines.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804265_Masonry_Services_Citations.pdf*, http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804281_North_Eastern_Citations.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/777302_Vordonia_Citations.pdf*.
"These hazards should not have existed in the first place," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "A proper and effective illness and injury prevention program, in which employers work with their employees to proactively identify, address and eliminate hazards, is a critical investment that pays dividends in safety and health for both workers and employers."