OSHA fines Verizon $140,700 for fatal electrocution

By Lindsey Anderson26 March 2012

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Verizon for $140,700 due various safety violations following a Sept. 14, 2011 death of an employee who was electrocuted while working from a utility truck.

Douglas Lalima, 37, was working in Brooklyn when the bucket truck he was in came in contact with an active power line. According to the OSHA inspection, Lalima and the bucket were too close to the power line, Lalima had not been adequately trained and he also lacked insulated gloves.

"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 in a statement. "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."

The inspection also found that the steel suspension strands being installed by Lalima had "not been grounded during installation, employees were not wearing hard hats, personal protective equipment had not been inspected, and employees had not been adequately trained in safe work practices. These conditions resulted in citations for five serious violations."

Verizon said it will appeal the ruling.

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