OSHA News Release: Federal investigation into fatal 2022 electrocution in Kansas City – company again failed to protect workers

OSHA News Release – Region 7

U.S. Department of Labor

Federal investigation into fatal 2022 electrocution in Kansas City finds Midwest engineering services company again failed to protect workers

US Engineering Services employees electrocuted while servicing HVAC systems in 2021, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO ‒ A fourth-year apprentice heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician employed by U.S. Engineering Services suffered fatal electrocution after coming in contact with energized parts while repairing HVAC equipment on Aug. 24, 2022, at University Academy, a college prep charter school in Kansas City, Missouri.

A federal investigation  found the company failed to follow required procedures which would have prevented the incident, a violation cited by federal investigators in July 2021, when another company HVAC technician was fatally electrocuted while working on a rooftop air conditioning unit not drained of all its energy in Wichita, Kansas.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found U.S. Engineering Services – a subsidiary of the Midwest enterprise, U.S. Engineering – failed to de-energize equipment and prevent equipment from unintentionally starting during repairs or maintenance. OSHA also found the Kansas City-based company failed to conduct hazard assessments to identify personal protective equipment needs and other requirements for field employees at contracted sites and allowed a damaged extension cord to be used at the repair site.

“This worker’s death was avoidable. Employers must follow well-known electrical safety procedures set forth in federal regulations and industry-recognized practices,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “Companies whose employees work with electricity must take all necessary steps to make sure they are protected from dangerous electrical hazards so they can return home safely.”

OSHA’s investigation found the worker was cleaning a chiller unit in the academy’s mechanical room when the electrocution happened. While the chiller’s fan motor was turned off using the building’s HVAC management system, neither a lock and/or tagout was placed on the unit control switch to ensure electrical power was drained from the coils and the air handler.

Investigators also determined neither arc flash personal protective equipment or lockout/tagout equipment was onsite at time of the incident.

OSHA cited U.S. Engineering Services for three serious and two repeat violations and proposed $197,642 in penalties. The agency identified similar violations after the July 2021 fatality. The company settled the case and paid the penalties assessed by OSHA.

U.S. Engineering Services is one of five companies held by U.S. Engineering in Kansas City. Its holdings include U.S. Engineering Construction, U.S. Engineering Metalworks, U.S. Engineering Innovations and USE Real Estate Holdings. 


Click here for the full news release from OSHA

Florida Power & Light Contractor Electrocuted in Southwest Miami-Dade

FPL Contractor Dies After He’s Electrocuted in SW Miami-Dade

A contractor for Florida Power and Light has died after he was electrocuted while working in southwest Miami-Dade Wednesday morning, officials said.

The incident happened around 9:40 a.m. in the area of Southwest 107th Avenue and Southwest 162nd Terrace. Miami-Dade Police officials said the worker was electrocuted by power lines that came in contact with his truck, which caused the vehicle to catch fire. Footage from the scene showed multiple work trucks with one severely damaged by the fire.

“I seen the guy on top of the machine doing his job. He fell down. He caught on fire —he caught on fire,” said Kshido Kahanvurrows, who witnessed the incident. “He started shaking and he caught on fire again. The other workers that work with him they ran over there to help him out.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to treat the worker and said the worker was taken to a local trauma center, where he later died. His identity hasn’t been released.

Police spokesman Luis Sierra said they’re trying to determine how the worker, who was in his 30s, came in contact with the power line.”We do know that electricians are routinely inspecting and checking lines. The circumstances of how this happened we do not know,” Sierra said. Power lines were down in the area and traffic lights were out. Traffic was also being diverted in the area.

“I was dying of the heat and the fan was off,” said Tiffany Herrero, a resident of the neighborhood. “When I came outside I realized that there were helicopters flying everywhere and just there was essentially no power. All the neighbors were outside.”

Another neighbor, Julius Hall, looked at the scene not far from his home and commented to NBC 6 on how the morning that started out rather ordinary took such a tragic turn.

“[The contractor] went to work to provide for his family and he’s not going home and that’s very sad,” Hall said. “So, with the power going out, it’s a minor inconvenience for what that guy’s family is fixing to go through.”

“We are aware of a serious incident in Miami-Dade County involving a contractor who came into contact with a power line. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the family of the individual,” FPL said in a statement Wednesday.

No other information was immediately known.

Reposted from NBC 6 South Florida, see the full story here

Utility worker dies in accident while trying to restore power – Repost from WCAX

Utility worker dies in accident while trying to restore power, authorities say – Repost from WCAX

HALIFAX, Vt. (WCAX/Gray News) – Authorities in Vermont say a utility worker has died while working on downed power lines.

WCAX reports the incident happened on Reed Hill Road in Halifax.

According to Vermont State Police, 41-year-old Lucas Donahue was working to restore power after trees fell on electrical wires in the area.

Investigators said Donahue was seriously injured and died at the scene. He was a worker with Green Mountain Power.

Authorities said his death has been accidental and doesn’t appear suspicious.

Click here for the article directly from WCAX

OSHA NEWS RELEASE: US Department of Labor cites Savannah space remediation company after 32-year-old lead repair technician suffers fatal electrocution

OSHA News Release – Region 4

US Department of Labor cites Savannah space remediation company after 32-year-old lead repair technician suffers fatal electrocution
East Coast Crawl LLC failed to have power lines deenergized before work began

SAVANNAH, GA – A federal workplace safety investigation into how an employee suffered a fatal electrocution while digging a shallow drainage trench under a home has found that a Savannah crawl space remediation company might have prevented the incident by following required safety standards.

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators determined the 32-year-old lead repair technician employed by East Coast Crawl LLC – operating as Crawlspace Medic of Savannah – came into contact with an electrical line on April 18, 2022, as they installed a drain to remove accumulating water.

OSHA cited the company for not making sure to deenergize electrical lines before allowing employees to work and dig within the danger zone, which exposed workers to electrical shock hazards. East Coast Crawl also failed to train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, did not provide personal protective equipment for working in a confined space, and failed to identify all permit-required confined spaces. OSHA has proposed $31,284 in penalties.

“Working in confined spaces presents hazards that can be fatal if they go unrecognized and are not appropriately mitigated,” explained OSHA Acting Area Director Jerred Stevens in Savannah, Georgia. “Employers have a legal responsibility to provide and ensure their employees have a safe workplace, but East Coast Crawl failed to follow federal safety requirements, and this worker’s family, friends and co-workers are left to grieve.”

In 2020, hazardous exposure to electricity claimed the lives of 126 workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

East Coast Crawl LLC, a Crawlspace Medic LLC franchise, operates 24 locations across the U.S.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Click here to read more from this OSHA News Release

Multiple workers suffer electrical burns after Arc Flash incident in Honolulu

HONOLULU (KITV4) – Three workers with Hawaiian Electric (HECO) suffered electrical burn injuries following an incident in the area of Pensacola Street and Kamaile Street, Tuesday morning.

According to a HECO spokesperson, the men were working on an underground power line when an “arc flash” occurred, injuring the workers.

An arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“An arc flash, is similar to like, lightning, as far as the intensity of what happens,” licensed electrician Steve Ricci explained.

“It will create a super heated situation that atomizes the copper, or the conductor, whatever the material is made out of, and that actually is an explosion.”

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reported that the men suffered second and third-degree burns in the incident. HECO tells KITV4 two of the men were taken from the scene to Straub Medical Center to be treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The third victim, according to HECO, was treated at the scene and did not need to be taken to the hospital.

The cause of the arc flash has not yet been determined.

The victims have not been identified by name, but EMS did say the victims were all men – ages 34, 36, and 56.

Honolulu Police officers shut down (HPD) Kamaile Street, between Pensacola Street and Piikoi Street, as the incident was investigated.

HECO sent KITV-4 the following statement:

“Hawaiian Electric is investigating the cause of an arc flash that injured three of our workers on a job site today. Fortunately, none of the employees suffered life-threatening injuries and we wish them a speedy and complete recovery. We spend a considerable amount time and effort at Hawaiian Electric to ensure the safety of our workers and the community and we will look closely at what caused this incident to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

According to HECO, all three of the injured employees have been released from the hospital.

Video of an arc flash in our newscasts were provided courtesy of Electrical Power & Safety Company.


Click here for the article directly from KITV 4


Cabinet Manufacturer Faces Citations After Worker Electrocuted – Repost from Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

Cabinet Manufacturer Faces Citations After Worker Electrocuted

The citations include violations for not using energy isolating devices, PPE and ladder use.

A cabinet manufacturer was recently cited after a worker was fatally injured.

In March of this year, a 33-year-old technician was replacing a light fixture when they “came into contact with a 277-volt circuit,” according to an OSHA news release. The technician, employed by Wellborn Cabinet Inc of Alabama, was fatally electrocuted. 

After an inspection, the agency determined parts were not checked for de-energization, and “energy isolation devices” were not used to control energy, the agency said. Other violations OSHA found relate to PPE use while “spraying coatings, paints and finishes” and ladder use. The company was cited for eight serious violations. The agency also proposed penalties totaling $115,188.

 “A worker’s family, friends and co-workers now grieve a terrible loss which might have been prevented had Wellborn Cabinet followed federal safety requirements,” explained OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham in the news release. “Every worker has a right to a safe and healthful workplace and every employer is legally responsible for providing one. We encourage employers to contact us with questions about keeping their employees safe.”

Click here for the article directly from Occupational Health & Safety