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Electrical contractor cited after work accident causes fatality

Safety around power lines is a priority for companies around the country, and Wisconsin is no exception. Preventing a work accident involving power lines requires the diligence of not only the employee but the employer as well. Providing safety equipment and safe working conditions is the responsibility of every company.

One electrical contractor's failure to provide proper safety equipment and working conditions caused the death of one of its employee working on power lines in December 2011. The company did not provide insulated equipment to its workers and failed to discontinue work when high winds threatened workers' safety. As a result of these failures, one employee was fatally electrocuted.

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has issued citations to the Missouri-based company for the two failures leading to the employee's death at a Montana job site. It also issued one additional citation for failing to properly keep new conductors under positive control, which reduces the possibility of accidental contact with energized circuits. PAR Electrical Contractors was cited with this same violation in 2007. OSHA has proposed fines in the amount of $52,500 and correction of the failures and has given the company 15 business days to respond.

In order to avoid being the victim of a work accident around power lines, employees in Wisconsin working on power lines should be advised of the OSHA standards for both equipment and work condition safety. While no one wants to be the victim of a work accident, it cannot always be avoided. In those circumstances where an accident does occur, workers' compensation benefits are typically available to cover an employee's medical costs and lost income while he or she recovers. And in those tragic instances where a worker suffers a fatal accident on the job, the family normally is entitled to workers' compensation death benefits.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Missouri-based PAR Electrical Contractors for safety violations following worker fatality in Montana," June 7, 2012

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