OSHA Issues Willful Citation to Mass. Contractor

A North Reading, Mass., construction company faces $49,000 in proposed OSHA fines following an inspection prompted by an accident at a Kingston, Mass., work site.

On Aug. 21, an excavator operated by Revoli Construction Co. Inc. struck an overhead, energized power line with its boom while it was attempting to lift its bucket. The electrical current passed through the boom and down to the ground, where it traveled outward and shocked a nearby police officer.

OSHA's inspection found that the excavator allegedly was operated too close to the power line. OSHA standards require that machinery be located and operated a minimum distance of 10 feet from an energized power line unless the line has first been de-energized or otherwise shielded from contact. Failure to do so places employees at risk from electrocution.

"Neither safeguard was utilized even though this employer knows what steps must be taken to protect workers against electrocution," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "While it's fortunate that no one was killed and no one else injured, this accident should never have occurred in the first place."

As a result, OSHA cited Revoli Construction for one alleged willful violation of safety standards and has proposed a fine of $49,000 for that citation.

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