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Contractors Fined in 2 Electrocutions

Friday, March 15, 2013

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Two Florida contractors are appealing a total of $17,500 in fines imposed in the deaths of two maintenance workers who were electrocuted while removing molding at a luxury condo project.

Dustin Manning, 30, and Juan Bocanegra, 37, were working from a cherry picker Sept. 7 in a gated community in Fort Myers Beach when the aerial lift basket came in contact with energized power lines.

Citations Appealed

Manning worked for Cutting Edge Molding, of Fort Myers Beach; Bocanegra, for J Baller Construction, which was founded in 2011.

Dustin Manning Juan Bocanegra

The accident took the lives of Dustin Manning (left) and Juan Bocanegra.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations against both companies, alleging that the workers lacked training in using the lift and in fall protection. J Baller was fined $11,900; Cutting Edge Molding, $5,600.

Both companies are contesting the citations and fines to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an OSHA spokesman said Thursday (March 14). The commission is an independent federal agency that reviews OSHA decisions and adjudicates appeals.

No information about either company was immediately available, and neither appears in OSHA's records.

Maintenance Work

Local news reports said the men had been hired to remove molding damaged by woodpeckers at Bella Lago Condominiums on Fort Myers Beach.

Bella Lago Condos

The victims had been working from an aerial lift at the Bella Lago Condominiums in Fort Myers Beach when the lift basket came in contact with power lines.

WFTX-TV reported that the workers had been lifted into the power lines while in the basket of the rented lift. OSHA documents appear to support that, saying that an untrained lift operator "put the basket in indirect contact with an energized, overhead power line."

Neither authorities nor case documents clarified the identity of the lift operator.


J Baller was issued citations for four serious violations. According to OSHA documents, the company:

  • Had no safety program;
  • Allowed Bocanegra to work up to 28 feet high without fall protection;
  • Did not protect Bocanegra from electric shock; and
  • Did not train the lift operator in lift operations or in the hazards of working near power lines.
Electrocution - Bella Lago Condos

 J Baller Construction was fined $11,900; Cutting Edge Molding, $5,600. Both companies are appealing their cases to a federal review board.

Cutting Edge Molding is accused of:

  • Lack of training in lift and fall-protection hazards; and
  • Lack of fall protection for Manning, who was working at heights up to 28 feet.

A hearing before the Review Commission has not been set.


Tagged categories: Access; Accidents; Building owners; Certifications and standards; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; lift; Maintenance programs; OSHA; Worker training

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