On February 27, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a press release on its website stating that it cited Minneapolis, Minnesota, business Highway Technologies Inc., for alleged safety violations after an employee died while on the job. The victim was killed after coming into contact with overhead power lines in Menomonie, Wisconsin. It is not clear whether he was wearing protective clothing.
According to the report, a group of workers was installing a guard rail and putting up signs during September 2012 on Interstate 94, a 13-mile stretch of road in western Wisconsin, when the fatal accident occurred. The federal health and safety agency issued citations to the company for neglecting to ensure that equipment was far enough away from power lines when in use and exposing employees to electric hazards. Other violations involved failing to guarantee that moving equipment was not within 6 feet of power lines.
"Highway Technologies failed to protect its workers from serious electrocution hazards," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a statement. "Multiple instances of the same violation over a period of time clearly demonstrate a willful failure to comply with basic safety and health standards. Employers must take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment."
Because of the gravity of these violations, Highway Technology Inc. has been put in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates more comprehensive inspections of companies that commit willful or negligent infractions.
The Minnesota business was also slapped with four serious violations for neglecting to recognize electrical work zones, conclude if equipment was a safe enough distance from power lines and train each employee how to work safely near power lines.
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