October 18, 2016
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Had proper precautions been taken, a 34-year-old tree trimmer would not have been fatally electrocuted when an aluminum pole saw made contact with overhead power lines, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.
Anthony Robert Donahue was strapped to a tree approximately 18 feet in the air and working at a private residence on Bay View Drive in Fort Lauderdale on April 25, 2016, when the incident occurred.
After its investigation, OSHA issued citations to Ray Carolan Services Inc., doing business as Monster Tree Service, for one willful, one serious and one other-than-serious safety violation.
“This tragedy was preventable had Monster Tree Service taken the necessary steps to ensure the worker was protected while working around overhead power lines,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA’s area director in Fort Lauderdale. “We’ve seen an unfortunate rise of similar incidents in the tree trimming industry recently due to employers not following OSHA standards. Ignoring safety standards near energized power lines gambles with worker’s lives.”
OSHA issued a willful citation to the employer for allowing workers to use an aluminum pole saw near power lines that were approximately 8 feet away. OSHA requires workers be at least 10 feet away from power lines when performing such work.
The serious violation involves exposing employees to multiple fractures or amputation hazards while using a stump grinder that had unguarded belts and pulleys. The other violation relates to exposing workers to hazards associated with chemicals and not implementing a hazard communications program.
Proposed penalties total $133,617. View the citations at: https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/newsroom/newsreleases/OSHA20161939.pdf
Based in Fort Lauderdale, Monster Tree Service provides fertilization, trimming, removal, maintenance and stump grinding. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Fort Lauderdale Area Office at 954-424-0242.