OSHA Fines 4 Construction Companies for Texas Worksite Death

September 24, 2007

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined four construction companies $119,550 following an investigation into fatality at a Dallas, Texas, worksite.

OSHA announced it issued citations to Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc. in Houston; Okie Foundation Drilling Co. Inc. and Rent-A-Crane of Oklahoma Inc. in Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Soto Rebar Construction in Dallas.

An employee was electrocuted in March 2007 when a truck crane used to hoist reinforcing steel for foundation piers made contact with an overhead power line at a construction site on Corsicana Street in Dallas, OSHA said. The crane operator swung the boom into the power line, killing an employee of Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc. and severely injuring an employee of Okie Foundation Drilling Co.

“The employer should have ensured that there was a minimum clearance of 10 feet between the crane and the energized overhead power lines,” said Dean McDaniel, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas. “If OSHA’s safety standards had been followed, this tragedy could have been avoided.”

OSHA cited all four contractors for failure to maintain the minimum clearance between the crane and power lines.

OSHA also cited Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc. with two alleged serious violations for failure to guard the swing radius of the crane and failure to train employees in how to safely operate forklift trucks. Proposed penalties for the serious violations total $79,500.

Okie Foundation Drilling Co. Inc. was cited for three alleged serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $26,700, for failure to guard the swing radius of the crane and drilling rig, failure to repair damaged slings to hoist materials and equipment, and failure to protect employees from fall hazards.

Rent-A-Crane of Oklahoma Inc., owner and operator of the crane, was cited with six alleged serious violations, including failure to guard the swing radius of the crane, and failure to maintain and operate the crane in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and industry standards. OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $11,250.

Soto Rebar Construction, a structural steel and pre-cast concrete contractor, was cited for one alleged serious citation, with proposed penalties of $2,100, for failure to maintain the minimum clearance between the crane and overhead power lines.

The employers have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Dallas, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov.

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