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GC, 5 Subs Fined on Power Plant Project

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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From shaky scaffolding to lead-paint hazards, more than 30 jobsite violations have landed six contractors from five states in trouble with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA has issued a total of 31 willful, serious and repeat violations and $280,880 in fines to the general contractor and five subcontractors working on construction of the Berlin Power Plant in Berlin, NH.

Berlin NH
Wikimedia Commons / Americanadian 8

OSHA alleged violations by the GC and five subs in building the Berlin Power Plant in Berlin, NH.

The citations follow a March inspection that was triggered by complaints about the working conditions at the $205 million biomass plant.

'Potentially Fatal Injuries'

Cited were:

  • Project general contractor Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co. Inc., of Barberton, OH;
  • Mascaro Construction Co. LP, of Pittsburgh, PA;
  • Mardo Masonry, of Mt. Morris, PA;
  • Northeast Utilities Enterprises Inc. (doing business as E.S. Boulos Co.), of Lewiston, ME;
  • Vaillancourt Electrical Service of Berlin, NH; and
  • Virginia Transformer Corp., of Roanoke, VA.

Babcock & Wilcox, Mascaro Construction and Mardo Masonry each were cited for one willful violation, OSHA's highest level of infraction.

"Workers at this site were exposed to serious and potentially fatal injuries from a variety of hazards. These included cave-in, fall, scaffold collapse, crushing, lead and electrocution hazards," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director for New Hampshire.

The full 88-page citation document is available here.

Summaries of the citations follow.

Babcock & Wilcox Construction

The company faces a total of $116,280 in proposed fines.

The willful citation, with a $49,500 fine, alleges that the company allowed a worker to wear a tight-fitting respirator over facial hair while removing lead-containing paint.

Babcock & Wilcox
Babcock & Wilcox

Babcock & Wilcox's many services include startup and commissioning for the energy sector.

A total of 14 serious citations, carrying $66,600 in fines, allege:

  • Failure to perform air monitoring and determine lead exposure levels when removing lead-containing paint;
  • Assembling and using cranes on unstable ground;
  • A 100-foot fall hazard through an unguarded wall opening;
  • Failing to train workers adequately to install fall protection systems;
  • Allowing workers to be close to an energized electrical panel, exposing them to arc flash and blast hazards;
  • Uncovered and unlabeled floor holes;
  • Not keeping work areas clear of debris;
  • Defective rigging equipment; and
  • Unguarded grinders.

One repeat other-than-serious citation, with a $180 fine, accuses the company of torn welding curtains. The company was cited for a similar hazard at a Nebraska work site in 2010.

Company spokesman Ryan Cornell said in an email Tuesday (Oct. 22) that the company had reviewed the citations, "and although we don’t concur with the findings noted, we will continue to work closely with OSHA to resolve these issues. It’s early in the process, we have contested the citations, and we are working to resolve the matter."

He added: "The first priority of The Babcock & Wilcox Company and Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., Inc. on every project is the health and safety of our employees and others at the job site."

Mascaro Construction

The contractor, which performed excavation and utilities work and installed concrete foundations, faces a total of $85,000 in fines.

Mascaro Construction
Mascaro Construction

Mascaro Construction's vast project portfolio includes work on Mitchell Station in Moundsville, WV, for American Electric Power.

The willful citation, with a $70,000 fine, alleges that the company had workers in two excavations that lacked cave-in protection.

Three serious citations, carrying $15,000 in fines, allege:

  • Failure to protect workers against loose rocks falling into the excavation hole;
  • Using a closed stepladder to access a trench box; and
  • Not providing cave-in protection for workers in front of a six-foot-deep excavation.

Mardo Masonry

The company, which performed masonry work on the project, faces a total of $56,000 in fines. The willful citation, with a $44,000 fine, accuses the company of using an inadequately braced scaffold, exposing workers to a collapse.

Mardo Masonry
Mardo Masonry

Mardo Masonry is an independent consulting and contracting firm specializing in new masonry construction and restoration.

Three serious citations, carrying $12,000 in fines, allege overloaded outriggers, storing excess supplies on the scaffold, and lack of toeboards.

E.S. Boulos

The electrical contractor, owned by NEUI, installed the primary electrical wiring and transmission lines. It was issued one serious citation and a $5,000 fine for exposed live electrical wiring, unlabeled electrical panels, and not closing unused electrical cabinet openings effectively.

Vaillancourt Electrical Service

The contractor, which installed and maintained temporary power throughout the job site, was issued five serious citations, with a total $11,600 in fines. The company is accused of:

  • Allowing workers to be close to an energized 480-volt electrical panel, exposing them to arc flash and blast hazards;
  • Failing to ensure the use of personal protective equipment;
  • Overlooking deficiencies involving temporary lighting, electrical cords and a panel; and
  • Failing to guard an energized electrical panel from water.

Virginia Transformer Corp.

The company, which furnished and installed the main power transformer, was issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for allowing workers to be close to an energized electrical panel.

The subcontracting companies could not be reached or did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.


Tagged categories: Construction; Enforcement; Fall protection; General contractors; Health and safety; Lead; OSHA; Power Plants; Respirators; Respiratory Protection Standard; Scaffolding; Subcontractors

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