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OSHA seeks to slap McConnell Dowell with $40K in fines following death of worker

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it has proposed more than $40,000 in fines against McConnell Dowell construction company for “nine serious violations of workplace safety standards.”


The citation and proposed fines were the result of an inspection carried out last summer after a company worker was electrocuted on July 10 during a crane operation at McConnell Dowell’s job at the Leone bridge, OSHA announced in a news release yesterday.


Galen Blanton, director of OSHA’s Honolulu Area Office, said OSHA standards prohibit working close to energized power lines. “This tragic death could have been prevented if a safe distance was maintained between the crane and the live power line,” Blanton said in the OHSA statement.


McConnell Dowell faces $42,300 in proposed fines for the violations and the company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the statement says.


When contacted yesterday afternoon, McConnell Dowell offered no comments regarding the OHSA proposed fines and violations.


According to OSHA, several workers were building a two-lane bridge at a job site in Leone when a crane attempted to move a large, concrete tribar within ten feet of an unsleeved 7,600-volt power line.


A worker acting as a signalman motioned for the crane operator to stop. The crane’s hook was near the energized overhead line and when the worker approached the crane, placing his hands on the crane, he was electrocuted.


OSHA said it cited the employer with nine serious violations of safety standards, including failure to determine safe working distances when workers were operating a crane close to high-voltage power lines.


The company was also cited for failing to ensure that at least one electrocution hazard warning label was affixed in the crane cab within view of the operator and that at least two were posted on the outside of the crane before use.


Other serious violations, according to OSHA, included failure to provide workers with personal floatation devices while working in or near water; failure to conduct and document monthly crane inspections; failure to ensure that a crane operator had access to load charts and other safety procedures; and failure to identify a crane’s safety boundaries to prevent employees from entering hazardous areas.


McConnell Dowell also failed to ensure that each signalman met the qualification requirements before giving any signals, said OSHA.