Verizon may be forced to pay $140,700 after a citation was issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) following an employee's death while on the job in New York. The man was electrocuted while attempting to install steel suspension strands.
What were Verizon's OSHA Violations?
Douglas Lalima, 37 and father of four, was suspended in the air using an aerial bucket lift when he came into contact with a charged power line in Brooklyn. Following his death, an inspection led by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office revealed that Lalima and the bucket were too close to the power line, he wasn't properly trained and lacked hazard clothing that is in compliance with OSHA. These infractions amounted to three violations.
Verizon was also cited because other employees were not wearing hard hats, personal protective equipment was not inspected, employees hadn't been trained in safe work practices and the steel suspension strands had not been grounded properly. These offenses yielded five serious violations.
Two-other-than serious violations were issued for failing to properly maintain an illness and injury log.
"Every workplace death is needless. A combination of effective training and safe work practices could have prevented this incident," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "The recurring nature of some of these hazards is disturbing. Verizon must take effective action to ensure that its workers are adequately protected so that this does not happen again."
In 2007, Verizon was hit with citations for similar infractions that occurred in Providence, Rhode Island.
Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said in an email to the Wall Street Journal that the company takes "excruciating pains and detail to train our employees and to give them the proper equipment that they need to perform their jobs safely."
How can similar incidents be prevented?
Maintaining a safe workplace for employees should be of the utmost importance to businesses. Companies may want to consider purchasing safety software, which can help manage their safety logs, resolve hazards, and track workplace accidents and fatalities.