OSHA Investigation following Electrocution in Alabama

by | Sep 28, 2022 | Industrial Accident, Wrongful Death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the March 16, 2022 electrocution of a worker at an Ashland, Alabama manufacturing plant.  During the incident, a worker was electrocuted while installing light fixtures at the plant.  The worker was killed as a result.

The OSHA investigation determined that Wellborn Cabinet Inc. did not follow required safety standards. Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations, for violations of the below federal regulations:

  • 29 CFR 1910.23(b)(8): The employer did not ensure that ladders are used only for the purposes for which they were designed: On or about 03/16/22 and times prior, employees used an A-frame ladder to access the top of a spray booth by side-stepping.
  • 29 CFR 1910.28(b)(1)(i): Except as provided elsewhere in this section 29 CFR 1910.28, the employer did not ensure that each employee on a walking-working surface with an unprotected side or edge that is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level is protected from falling by one or more of the systems described in 29 CFR 1910.28(b)(1)(i).
  • 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(1): Protective eye equipment was not required where there was a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment.
  • 29 CFR 1910.333(b)(2)(ii)(A): Safe procedures for deenergizing circuits and equipment were not determined before circuits or equipment are deenergized.
  • 29 CFR 1910.333(b)(2)(iii)(A): A lock and a tag were not placed on each disconnecting means used to deenergize circuits and equipment on which work was to be performed.
  • 29 CFR 1910.333(b)(2)(ii)(B): Control circuit devices, such as push buttons, selector switches, and interlocks, were used as the sole means for deenergizing circuits and equipment.
  • 29 CFR 1910.333(b)(2)(iv)(B):Before circuits or equipment was worked as deenergized, a qualified person did not use test equipment to test the circuit elements and electrical parts of equipment to which employees would be exposed and did not verify that the circuit elements and equipment parts are deenergized.
  • 29 CFR 1910.305(b)(1)(ii): Unused openings in boxes, cabinets, or fittings were not effectively closed.

As a result of the findings, OSHA recommended fines totaling $115,188.00.

It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers.  It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies.  Of course, the policies and procedures must be adequately implemented.  It is more than merely having a written down procedure, companies must ensure that their workers understand and follow what has been developed.

One of the means to ensure incidents like this do not happen is through lockout/tagout procedures to control the release of hazardous energy.  OSHA provides guidelines in how to implement a lockout/tagout procedure.  Here, a worker tragically lost their life as a result of the failures found in the OSHA investigation.

OSHA has previously warned about risks to workers when hazardous energy is not controlled:

Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured in an electrocution accident.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident involving an uncontrolled release of energy.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.