OSHA Cites Mass. Contractor Following Electrocution at Logan Airport

October 5, 2005

The electrocution of a worker at Logan International Airport could have been prevented with an effective combination of work procedures, employee training and personal protective equipment reports the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

An employee of Main Tech, a facilities support services contractor for Jet Blue, was electrocuted on July 27 when he came in contact with an energized 480-volt electrical box while working on the roof of Terminal C.

OSHA’s investigation reportedly found that the electrical box had not been deenergized and its power source locked out prior to starting the work. Procedures to do so had not been developed and no qualified person had tested to verify that electrical circuits and parts had been deenergized.

In addition, the deceased and a second worker had not been trained in safe electrical work practices or supplied protective gloves and face protection. A workplace hazard assessment to determine what protective equipment the workers needed was not conducted. Finally, the workers were exposed to fall hazards from the terminal roof and a trailer due to lack of guardrails.

As a result of these conditions, Main Tech was cited for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA has proposed a total of $54,000 in fines. A serious violation is one where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.

“Working safely with electricity requires that electrical equipment and circuits be rendered safe before work begins and that workers be properly trained and equipped with effective and appropriate protective equipment,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “This case shows graphically what can – and did – happen when these required safeguards were not provided and ensured.”

Main Tech has 15 working days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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