RI Tree Trimmer Electrocuted by Power Line


Providence RI (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AAA Professional Lawn Care Inc. for seven alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards in connection with the July 30 death of a worker who was performing tree trimming work at 5 Country View Drive in Johnston. The worker was fatally shocked when the aluminum pruner he was using came into contact with an energized 7,200-volt overhead power line.

An investigation by OSHA's Providence Area Office found that the employer failed to de-energize or ground the power line before the work was begun, as well as to provide protective shields, barriers or insulating materials to protect workers from shocks, burns or other electrical-related injuries. In addition, the pruner was not insulated and was used within 10 feet of the power line, the employee lacked both proper training and protective gloves, and the employer did not institute work practices to reduce the electrical hazard. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"This worker's death could have been prevented had AAA Professional Lawn Care ensured that the power line was de-energized or otherwise properly protected," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's Rhode Island area director. "Further, the company should have provided ensured the use of proper equipment, training and work practices to minimize this deadly but avoidable hazard."

Johnston-based AAA Professional Lawn Care, which faces $49,000 in proposed fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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