Anthony Donahue, who was fatally electrocuted by a power line while trimming a tree in Fort Lauderdale in April this year, was, according to his employer, “responsible for his own actions.” Donahue, 34, reportedly used an aluminum pole saw to trim an 18-foot tall palm tree on Bay View Drive that was too close to a power line.
Ray Carolan, Donahue’s employer and the owner of Monster Tree Service, told news sources that while “it’s a very unfortunate accident,” Donahue was responsible for his own actions as a subcontractor. Carolan claims Donahue was provided with the necessary tools to safely perform his job.
“He was trimming the canopy of a tree with a metal ladder and metal pole saw when he had a fiberglass ladder and fiberglass pole saw ready to rock-and-roll right there . . . I can’t tell you how many times we talked about this in safety meetings.”
Condell Eastmond, Fort Lauderdale area director for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said the tragedy was preventable and Donahue would be alive today if his employer had “taken the necessary steps to ensure the worker was protected while working around overhead power lines.”
According to Eastmond, OSHA has seen a rise of similar accidents in the tree trimming business because employers refuse to follow OSHA’s safety standards for working near power lines. The federal safety agency announced its intention to fine Monster Tree Service $133,617 because of Donahue’s death on Tuesday. Carolan intends to contest the fine.
Sal Guariniello, a childhood friend of the deceased, told the press that Donahue was a hard-working man who started trimming trees when he was 14 and had always been careful. Guariniello said he had told Donahue not to work for Carolan because his job sites were rumored to have many accidents.
The Donahue family has reportedly filed a suit against Monster Tree Service, but news sources could not find any court records of a pending case.