electric linemanTelecommunications giant Verizon has agreed to provide enhanced electrical safety training to its New York field technicians, following the fatal electrocution of a worker in Brooklyn on Sept. 14, 2011.

Lack of hand protection, training

The field technician died after coming into contact with an energized power line while he worked from an aerial lift bucket. The project was to install steel suspension strand on a joint use pole, which carries both telecommunications and power lines. An inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office found that the field technicians in Brooklyn at Verizon's Avenue H garage were not adequately trained, did not wear rubber protective gloves and did not ground the suspension strand.

Under a settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Labor, Verizon New York will provide an electrical safety training module for its field technician trainees at its line schools in New York and will provide in-service training to current field technicians who install suspension strand on utility poles that carry power lines.

Traing will be interactive

The hands-on, demonstrative and interactive training will focus on electrical safety in joint use environments, including the grounding of suspension strand, wearing rubber insulated gloves, and procedures for installing suspension strand where obstructions exist. Verizon New York will also provide supplemental training to local and area managers and notify OSHA when training has been instituted, keep records of the training and provide them to OSHA upon request.

The agreement also affirms two repeat violations and one serious violation that were cited by OSHA.

"While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.