OSHA finds lack of proper 'work zone' in plumber's death

OSHA finds lack of proper 'work zone' in plumber's death

Robert Harvey died after a vehicle whose driver could not see him hit him as he worked in the middle of the street An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA of the incident identified 10 serious violations OSHA has fined the company $42,960 for the hazards

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Had his employer properly created a work zone, a passing car on Philadelphia's 63rd Street might not have struck and killed a 27-year-old plumber working to repair an underground leak on a mid-November night in 2015.

Employed by Best Choice Plumbing, Inc., Robert Harvey died after a vehicle whose driver could not see him hit him as he worked in the middle of the street. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the incident identified 10 serious violations. OSHA found the company failed to:

  • Develop and implement a traffic control program to address, recognize, evaluate and control traffic hazards.
  • Ensure that a competent person implemented and inspected the traffic control plan.
  • Instruct employees in recognizing, eliminating or controlling hazards in an active roadway.
  • Provide advanced warning to drivers, and other road users that work was underway.
  • Designate flagmen to control traffic on the adjacent shoulder or in a barricaded lane.

"Best Choice Plumbing could have prevented this tragic incident by developing a proper traffic control plan that included signs, cones, barrels and barriers. Drivers, workers on foot and pedestrians must be able to see and understand the proper routes," said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia area office. "Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from safety hazards, and will be held accountable when they fail to do so."

OSHA has fined the company $42,960 for the hazards, which 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 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To view the citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BestChoicePlumbingInc_1107469.pdf.

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 Philadelphia Area Office at 215/597-4955.

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