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Penalties announced in Pennsylvania electrocution accident

A Pennsylvania contractor is facing five violations for an incident in which a worker was fatally electrocuted. Two other workers were also electrocuted in that accident, which occurred on April 12 when a forklift struck power lines on the job site. According to the Cambria County coroner, “The electricity went down the machine.”

All three workers were taken to a local hospital. Two survived, but one died while being treated in the emergency room.

In addition to penalties imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency is also proposing more than $331,000 in fines. The company, Insight Pipe Contracting LLC, is headquartered in Harmony. The tragic accident occurred while workers were repairing a sewer in Johnstown.

The OSHA violations involve failing to train employees on how to enter, exit and work in a confined space and not implementing the appropriate procedures for working in such a space. Other violations include not doing the proper atmospheric testing before letting the workers go into the sewer line.

Now, OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). This program includes contractors that “have demonstrated indifference to their OSHA obligations by willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations,” They are subject to increased monitoring and inspections.

As this tragic incident shows, workers can face electrical hazards in all industries. Construction workers, in particular, use various types of equipment and tools powered by electricity. It’s essential that they be properly trained to use them and to avoid the dangers inherent in their use.

If a loved one has been injured or killed on the job due to electrocution, it’s essential that the matter is fully investigated. OSHA and other safety agencies can help determine whether companies can and should have done more to keep employees safe. These findings can help victims and loved ones as they take legal action to seek the compensation they need and deserve.

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