OSHA began an inspection of the worksite July 2, after notification from St. Johns County Sheriff Department officials that two company employees had received severe electrical shocks at the site where sand was being pumped from the ocean bottom up to the eroded beach. The first worker, using wet gloves during a welding operation, was injured June 17. The second worker was injured July 1 and sustained deep electrical burns to his right arm. Both employees were hospitalized as a result of their injuries.
"Using electrical equipment without grounding protection is often fatal," said James. D. Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "These workers are fortunate to be alive. The long, painful months of recovery they will have to endure could have been avoided if the employer had taken the proper precautions to protect them."
OSHA issued 10 serious citations to the Oak Brook, Ill-based firm for:
- Failure to provide employees with proper personal protective equipment while working with energized welding cables and electrode holders;
- Failure to properly ground temporary electrical wiring;
- Allowing employees to operate hand-held electrical tools with missing grounding prongs; and
- Failure to repair or replace damaged portable ladders and guardrails around an elevated work area.
A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.