Sep 072012

OSHA just confirmed what workers have been saying for years: Verizon ignores worker safety.

Verizon is among 332 of the nation’s employers that landed last week on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list. Created in 2010 to get tough on employers, the list calls out companies with willful, repeated and egregious workplace violations.

Verizon earned this ghastly distinction after federal officials discovered “repeat and serious” violations connected to the tragic death of Verizon technician Douglas Lalima, a member of CWA Local 1109. OSHA cited the company for 10 violations totaling $14,700 — the maximum penalty under the law.

Lalima, a 37-year-old father of four, was in a cherry picker installing steel suspension strands in Brooklyn last September when he was electrocuted and burst into flames. The inspection found that Verizon failed to provide Lalima and his fellow technicians with life-saving equipment, such as insulated gloves. The steel suspension strands had not been grounded during installation, employees were not wearing hard hats, and protective equipment had not been inspected. The technicians — including Lalima, a 15-year veteran of the company — had not been adequately trained in safety procedures. Furthermore, Verizon neglected to list Lalima’s death as a fatality in its mandatory records.

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