NJ developer and contractors cited after OSHA finds employees working near live power lines
All three companies face proposed citations and penalties.
A New Jersey developer and two contractors were recently cited after metal scaffolding, on which employees were standing, was found just five feet from live power lines.
Earlier this year, OSHA received notification from a “local electric utility” about a project – with Litana Development Inc. of Wayne as the developer and Prata Construction LLC of Denville and Elite Brothers Construction LLC of Paterson as contractors – in Paterson, New Jersey, where employees were “too close to nearby power lines,” according to one Press release.
These employees were working on a construction project atop metal scaffolding, which was only five feet from high voltage power lines.
OSHA notified the developer and contractors of the hazards and “told them that work should not continue,” by posting an imminent hazard notice on the site, according to the press release.
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark granted a temporary restraining order to the regional attorney’s office for the United States Department of Labor to enforce the notice in June. On July 5, Litana and department prosecutors entered into a consent injunction. Under the negotiated consent injunction, employees could continue to work but had to be at least 11 feet from power lines, according to the press release.
On July 15, ten days later, OSHA said it found workers too close to power lines. In August, “the court issued a more restrictive amended consent injunction that included third-party monitoring and physical barriers to ensure worker safety,” the press release said.
Each company received quotes and penalties proposed by OSHA. Litana Development Inc was cited for three willful violations and proposed penalties of $435,081; Prata Construciton LLC received one willful and two serious violations and proposed penalties of $41,478; and Elite Brothers Construction LLC has one willful infraction and three serious violations and $41,478 in proposed penalties for the incident.
“Litana Development and its contractors deliberately exposed workers to life-threatening electrocution hazards by having them work too close to energized power lines,” OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson said in New York. , in the press release. this construction project, the companies ignored warnings and even a court order.”