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Carolina Beach Gets OSHA Violation Working On Decorations

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach received a violation notice from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a violation observed in November 2013.
According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, "On November 21, 2013, an OSHA inspector observed a work crew from the Public Works Department performing duties that were, in his opinion, in violation of OSHA standards. The crew was observed utilizing the Town’s Dur-A-Lift bucket truck to assist the an Electrical Contractor in the repair of electrical plug-in’s that light up the annual Holiday lights that hang from utility poles on Lake Park Boulevard. The Inspector initially approached the work site because he observed the Contractor being driven from one electrical pole to the next while riding in the bucket of the work truck, which was in the down position. In addition, the Inspector observed our employee not wearing a hard hat in a work zone."
Cramer explained, "Management was called to the work site, and after much discussion and a review of the Owner’s Manual of the Dur-A-Lift truck, it was determined that the manufacturer did not specifically state a person could not ride in the bucket while in the down position. By this point it was clear, however, that our employee did violate a couple of OSHA standards for working safely. Pictures were taken of the work site."
Cramer explained the Town received notice on February 21st, the Town was charged with three OSHA violations of the "Serious" classification based on the inspector's report of the November 21, 2013 violations. The penalty for the violations was $4,000.
Cramer explained, "The Directors of the Public Works and Public Utilities Departments, as well as the Supervisor of the work crew sited in the violation, all met on numerous occasions to discuss the violations and determine what indeed happened and how these violations could have occurred with a work crew that was trained to work safely. The employee on the work crew that day received a Written Warning for violation of Company Policy for not wearing his hard hat in a work zone. Management additionally determined that the appropriate PPE was not on hand for the employee to utilize in the event the truck was to become electrically charged by the Contractor working in the bucket."
He explained, "Finally, it was concluded that the worker had failed to set up a proper work zone with cones and tape to advise others of the work zone."
He explained, "Based on these discussions, Management requested an Informal Conference with OSHA to discuss these violations and document what steps the Town had taken, and continues to take, with regard to Worker Safety. This Informal Conference was held on March 14, 2014. In attendance were Gil DuBois, Mark Hewitt and myself. We met with Mr. Lafayette Adkinson/District Supervisor with OSHA.
The Town presented all the documentation to support what we had done to abate the violations observed in November, such as discussing the incident in detail with the Contractor, purchasing new PPE, writing procedures for utilizing the Bucket Truck, counseling employees on safe work zones, reviewing policy and procedures, engaging a safety consultant, training employees, and acknowledging the Town’s desire to always protect our employees with a “Safety First’ commitment."
Cramer explained that as a result of the conference, the fines were lowered by 50% to $2,000 but the "Serious" classification could not be reduced because of the involvement of electricity. The
Town paid the fine which was charged to the Public Works Department. Cramer signed an Informal Settlement Agreement.