OSHA Cites Company for Safety Hazards at Ga. Site

August 19, 2005

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Knoxville-based Wolf Tree Experts Inc. for reportedly exposing workers to electrical hazards at a Port Wentworth, Georgia job site. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $59,000.

“There are well-established safety procedures for tree trimmers working near overhead electrical power lines,” said John Deifer, OSHA’s Savannah area director. “This employer was aware of the necessary safety precautions to protect workers from electrocution but failed to implement them.”

The company received seven serious citations, with proposed penalties of $24,000, for failing to: maintain safe approach distance, determine voltage of power lines and conduct safety meetings before work began; designate an employee to observe and warn before equipment encroached into unsafe areas; and assure that equipment was properly insulated and in good working order.

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.

OSHA issued two repeat citations, with proposed penalties of $35,000, for not having CPR- and first-aid-trained personnel on site during tree trimming operations and failing to provide fire extinguisher training for employees who were expected to fight small fires. The company had been cited previously for similar violations.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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