February 08, 2002

The failure of the Dillard Smith Construction Company to protect employees from electrical hazards that resulted in the death of a worker has led to citations alleging willful and serious violations. Proposed penalties total $112,000.

The July 25 electrocution occurred near the Tampa, Fla., intersection of Big Bend Road and U.S. 41 where Dillard Smith employees were replacing equipment on six Tampa Electric Company high voltage transmission lines. Working from a raised metal aerial basket, a lineman and lineman-in-training were changing insulators and copper ground wires atop a transmission tower when the trainee used his hand to remove one end of the grounding jumper cable prior to removing it from the 230,000-volt energized line.

OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000 for exposing linemen to electrical hazards caused by improper grounding procedures.

The agency also issued six serious citations with total proposed penalties of $42,000 for failing to conduct job safety briefings; not properly training workers in the use of electrical equipment; not using proper grounding procedures and equipment; not installing upper platform controls in the aerial basket; and not maintaining the required distance between energy lines and aerial baskets. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazards.

OSHA has started a program in Florida to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from hazards of overhead power lines, according to OSHA Area Director Les Grove, in Tampa, whose office conducted the inspection. Agency investigations reveal three common factors in these accidents: inadequate training, supervision and personal protective equipment.

The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company, which employs approximately 750 workers, has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


A Painesville, Ohio company allegedly allowed employees to work and walk near unguarded skylights and exposed them to the dangers of roof falls, resulting in the issuance of four citations by the OSHA. Following an inspection at Commercial Siding & Maintenance Co. Inc., OSHA proposed fines totaling $120,400.

OSHA conducted its investigation in August, when employees were removing and installing roof panels.

"This company has a history of fall-related violations," said Rob Medlock, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "The focus of this inspection was to ensure that workers had proper fall protection."

OSHA cited Commercial Siding & Maintenance for two alleged willful violations of regulations on fall protection. One involved workers who were allowed to work and walk next to unguarded skylights. A second violation involved workers exposed to falls from the roof while removing and reinstalling metal roof panels.

Two serious violations were alleged for deficiencies in a forklift platform for elevating workers and failure to secure metal roof decking to prevent movement.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one in which the employer committed an intentional and knowing violation of the law or committed a violation with plain indifference to the law. A serious violation is issued for a hazardous condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Commercial Siding & Maintenance Co. Inc. has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


During the month of February, employers with 11 or more employees must post a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2001. The summary must remain posted from Feb. 1 to March 1, 2002.

Since 1972, employers have been required to post the annual totals of the information contained on the right-hand portion of the OSHA Form 200, "Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses." The form is to be displayed wherever notices to employees are usually posted.

The right-hand portion of the OSHA Form 200 includes information on type of injury and illness, extent and outcome. This information alerts employees to possible hazards. Employees, former employees and their designated representatives, and OSHA officials may request access to the entire OSHA Form 200 for an establishment.

Companies with no injuries and illnesses in 2001 must post the form with zeros on the total line. The person who prepares the annual summary must certify that the totals are correct and sign the form.

Employers must make a copy of the summary available to employees who move from worksite to worksite, such as construction workers, and employees who do not report to any fixed establishment on a regular basis.

Employers with ten or fewer employees and employers in certain industry groups are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. As of Jan. 1, 1983, employers in certain statistically safe industry groups were also exempt, such as certain retail trades; finance, insurance, and real estate; and certain service industries.

Exempted employers may still be selected by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics to participate in an annual statistical survey. All employers covered by OSHA must continue to comply with pertinent safety and health standards and must report verbally within eight hours to the nearest OSHA office for all accidents that result in one or more fatalities or in the hospitalization of three or more employees. After hours calls to report accidents can be made toll free by calling 1-800-321-OSHA.


President Bush has requested a $437 million budget for OSHA in Fiscal Year 2003, including a $2.75 million increase in compliance assistance, outreach, and training activities.

Under the President's proposal, OSHA will receive $60.3 million for expanded outreach activities and compliance assistance, which includes training and information exchanges and technical assistance to employers. This also includes an increase of $250,000 for new computer-based outreach products, such as the agency's "e-Tools," $500,000 to increase technology-based training, and $500,000 to improve compliance assistance training for OSHA's front-line staff. In addition, $4 million will be allocated for a new training grant program, replacing the current Susan Harwood grants program.

The enforcement component of the proposed budget includes funds and personnel to focus resources on activities that have the greatest impact on worker safety and health. OSHA will target inspections on the worst hazards and at the most dangerous workplaces. A total of $161.1 million is earmarked for enforcement and anticipates the agency will conduct 1,300 more inspections in FY2003 than this year.

The new budget keeps state programs activities at equivalent levels as this year ($89.8 million). However, the budget request does include an increase of $1.5 million to state consultation programs to help small businesses reduce injuries and illnesses.

OSHA will use $14.2 million for the development, review and evaluation of safety and health standards.