The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the general contractor and five subcontractors working on the construction of the Berlin Power Plant in Berlin, New Hampshire for 31 willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards. The employers face a combined $280,880 in proposed fines following inspections by OSHA's Concord Area Office, which started in March in response to complaints.

"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. "While it is fortunate no one was killed or seriously injured, worker safety cannot and must never be left to chance. For the safety and well-being of their employees, these employers must supply and ensure the use of proper safeguards on their job sites."

Northeast Utilities Enterprises Inc., doing business as E.S. Boulos Co., of Lewiston, Maine, an electrical contractor that installed the primary electrical wiring and transmission lines, was issued one serious citation with a $5,000 fine, for exposed live electrical wiring, unlabeled electrical panels and not closing unused electrical cabinet openings effectively.

Vaillancourt Electrical Service of Berlin, which installed and maintained temporary power throughout the job site, was issued five serious citations, with $11,600 in fines. It allowed workers to be close to an energized 480-volt electrical panel, which exposed workers to arc flash and blast hazards; it did not ensure the use of personal protective equipment; and it overlooked deficiencies involving temporary lighting, electrical cords and a panel, and did not guard an energized electrical panel from water.

Virginia Transformer Corp., of Roanoke, Va., 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.