Testimonials

OSHA News Release: Contractor cited after finding employer bypassed safety measures that led to worker’s fatal electrocution

OSHA News Release – Region 4

US Department of Labor cites Tavares contractor after finding employer willfully bypassed safety measures that led to worker’s fatal electrocution
United Signs & Signals Inc. failed to ensure electricity was secured

TAVARES, FL – In the early afternoon of March 2, 2021, a 44-year-old electrical technician at an Orlando work site climbed down into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights. Not long after, the worker made contact with live wires and suffered fatal electrocution, a death the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators deemed avoidable had the employer taken required safety measures.

OSHA’s investigation led the agency to cite United Signs & Signals Inc. – operating as US&S – with two willful violations for exposing workers to electrical-shock hazards by failing to de-energize or guard circuits and exposing workers to cave-in hazards by neglecting to ensure the use of protective measures to safeguard employees. OSHA also cited US&S with two serious violations for not ensuring workers had a safe means to exit excavations and allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water.

OSHA proposed $237,566 in penalties.

“A man is dead because of US&S’s willful indifference toward protecting its workers,” said OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida. “This terrible loss should remind employers that safety measures are never optional, and the consequences for ignoring them can be fatal.”

Click here to read more from this OSHA News Release

 

Hopefully Companies will Implement Safer Work Practices to Avoid these Types of Tragedies

Companies Fined for Big Bend Accident after Multiple Lives Lost and Serious Injury

In June of 2017, a total of five employees of Tampa Electric Co., Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. and Brace Integrated Services Inc. lost their lives due to serious injuries they incurred while on-the-job, and another suffered severe burns. After the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the Big Bend River Station electrical power plant in Apollo Beach, it was found that the employees had been burned because of a blockage that was inside a coal-fired furnace. When the blockage broke free, molten slag ejected out all over the work zone.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Tampa Electric Co. and Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. a total of $160,972. Tampa Electric Co. was cited for neglecting to form processes to control hazardous energy. Tampa Electric Co. and Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. were cited for failing to supply employees with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure they would be protected from burns. Brace Integrated Services Inc. was not cited for anything.

Kurt Petermeyer, the OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator, said, “This tragedy demonstrates what can happen when hazards are not properly controlled,” and added, “Employers must develop and implement necessary procedures to prevent incidents such as this from occurring.”

Tampa Electric Co. released the statement, “This accident has forever changed our company; the families of those affected remain our priority. We respect OSHA’s process and have participated fully with their investigation as a valuable part of understanding what happened. However, we respectfully disagree with the suggestion we were willful or deliberately indifferent to the safety of workers. We cannot change what happened, but we are committed to learning from it to ensure nothing like this happens again. Since the incident, our team and the union have been working hard together to improve safety, including reviewing and improving work procedures, strengthening the safety language in our collective bargaining agreement, and developing a long-term strategy to improve our safety culture. We are more focused on safety than ever before. As part of the process, we will meet with OSHA to discuss the citations and to determine our next steps.”

To read the full article, click here.