Hyde Park contractor exposes workers to possible electrocution
By Anthony Capkun
July 28, 2014 – Employees of P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. (Boston, Mass.) were exposed to possible electrocution from working close to energized powerlines at a Cambridge worksite where required safeguards were not used. The Hyde Park contractor now faces $70,290 US in proposed fines.
A May 9 inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) found that employees used a trench rod and a fiberglass pole with a metal end to lift overhead powerlines so that workers could move excavating equipment under the lines and onto the worksite.
“This employer knew the overhead power lines were dangerous but did not take steps to protect workers or shield them from contact and electrocution,” said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. “Electricity is swift and deadly. While it is fortunate no one was injured or killed in this case, the hazard of death or disabling burns was real and present.”
OSHA cited Gioioso in 2011 for a similar hazard at a Framingham worksite. Based on the employer’s knowledge of the hazard, OSHA has cited Gioioso for a willful violation with $69,300 in proposed fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.