OSHA Investigates Worker Electrocution At Airport
OSHA has launched an investigation after a workplace accident claimed a worker’s life recently. The worker was electrocuted during a construction job. The worker was found at 12:55 am and paramedics were called to the scene. They found the worker unresponsive. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.
The project was related to a new lobby under construction at the time of the accident. The same company was sued in 2018 when a girl was electrocuted after the completion of one of their projects. The company settled the lawsuit in 2019. The last time an employee of the company died was 2015 in a construction accident. The company has not reported any other employee deaths since the most recent one in 2022.
Electrocution accidents on the job
Electrocution accidents are generally caused by a failure to cut power to the area that’s being serviced. These are known as stored energy accidents and are often the result of explosions. Electrocution accidents also deal with stored energy. Most companies (at the behest of OSHA) have lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures in place to avoid stored energy incidents. We don’t specifically know what happened here, but if a lockout/tagout procedure was not in place at the time of the accident, then OSHA will levy a fine against this company for the death of its worker.
Stored energy accidents are predominantly caused by a failure to shut down the machine properly before it is serviced. OSHA cites proper lockout/tagout procedures as the key to avoiding such injuries. Indeed, it is not a suggestion. When a worker dies from electrocution, OSHA conducts an investigation to ensure that the company is meeting its responsibilities to the state and its workers. When OSHA finds that the company cut corners or the proper procedures weren’t followed, they’ll cite and fine the company. The company could also end up on the severe violators enforcement list if OSHA finds that the violation was willful.
OSHA presumes in the case of an electrocution injury that the incident was preventable with the proper LOTO procedure in place. The LOTO procedure establishes the employer’s responsibility to its workers when it comes to training.
Who is responsible for the worker’s death?
OSHA will determine if the company cut corners in training its employees and whether that resulted in the death of the worker. It is also possible that the worker cut corners or that the worker was under the impression that the machine was shut down when it wasn’t. Alternatively, there could have been a problem with the wiring itself. We don’t have those answers yet.
Even with no answers, it’s likely that some safety lapse resulted in this worker’s electrocution. Unless the worker was struck by lightning, the machine was still electrified when the worker began working on it. However, OSHA doesn’t fine companies when they violate the rules. They fine companies when workers don’t know what the rules are or haven’t been properly safety trained.
Talk to a Decatur, GA Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The O’Connell Law Firm represents the interests of Decatur workers in workers’ compensation claims. Call our Decatur workers’ compensation lawyers today to begin the process and we can begin preparing your claim immediately.