OSHA Cites Contractors Following Fatal Accident at S.C. Worksite

January 18, 2006

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Bulldog Office Contractors, Roscoe Allen Company and Southway Crane and Rigging for safety hazards that led to a fatal accident at a Ft. Jackson, S.C., job site. Proposed penalties total $73,600.

The three companies were contracted to install trailers at the military base. OSHA’s investigation reportedly determined that, on Aug. 9, 2005, six Bulldog employees were holding cables positioned around a trailer while a crane lifted it from a staging area to a permanent location where it would be used as an office or barrack. During the move, the spreader bar rigging attached to the crane reportedly came in contact with energized overhead power lines transmitting electricity through the cables. One worker received a fatal shock and several others were injured.

“These companies were aware that workers were exposed to electrical hazards but took no action to de-energize the power lines, ground them, or install insulating barriers during the lift,” said Suzanne Street, federal OSHA’s Columbia area director. “This tragic accident could have been prevented.”

Portal, Ga.-based, Bulldog Office Contractors received a proposed penalty of $49,000 for one willful citation for operating a crane within 10 feet of overhead power lines and a $9,800 penalty for two serious citations directly related to the accident — failing to designate an employee to observe and warn of clearance distances between the crane and power lines and failure to advise employees of power line hazards. An additional penalty of $2,500 was assessed against the company for two serious citations for failing to provide fall protection for employees working in aerial baskets and to properly label equipment. Finally, the company was fined $2,500 for not reporting the fatal accident to OSHA within eight hours.

The general contractor, Ocilla, Ga.-based, Roscoe Allen, and the crane rental company, Lexington, S.C.-based, Southway Crane and Rigging, received one serious citation and a $4,900 fine each for operating a crane within 10 feet of overhead power lines.

The three companies have 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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