The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration has the job of implementing and enforcing rules and regulations that are meant to keep workers safe. Even so, thousands of workers in Massachusetts are injured on the job each year. This is because there are many employers that choose to ignore safety rules and regulations.
Last month, OSHA cited a Massachusetts heavy equipment operator for violating safety standards while working on the Hine Bridge replacement project in Amesbury. OSHA officials said the Canton-based company, Barletta Heavy Division Inc., knew about the safety violations that caused a worker to be injured.
OSHA said there were multiple reports of a crane owned and operated by the company striking overhead power lines during the course of the Hine Bridge project. In March, a worker was injured when the crane struck the power line. OSHA said it considered this to be a willful safety violation because the company knew of the power line hazard, but didn’t take steps to correct it.
OSHA also cited the company for failing to conduct a hazard assessment at the job site, failing to properly identify the work zone with signage and failing to make sure that the workers giving signs to the crane operator met qualification requirements. These were considered serious violations. OSHA defines a serious violation as one that could lead to death or serious physical harm, which the employer knew or should have known about.
Overall, Barletta Heavy Division now faces $90,000 in proposed OSHA fines. It is also possible that the company could face a personal injury lawsuit brought by the worker who was injured when the crane came into contact with the overhead power lines.
Source: OSHA News Release, “Massachusetts heavy equipment operator cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA after crane comes in contact with power line and injures worker,” Aug. 16, 2012