Power Unit Fined after Electrocution

Thursday, August 4, 2011 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Brownsville, WI-based Michels Power Division is facing seven serious safety violations after a worker died after being electrocuted April 6 at a Livingston job site.

“Employers have a responsibility to provide job-appropriate personal protective equipment and to train workers to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions,” said Kim Stille, U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) area director in Madison. “Knowing what hazards exist in the workplace and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death is critical, as demonstrated by this tragic incident.”

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The violations involve failing to instruct workers in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions; ensure the use of personal protective equipment; protect workers from electrical shock; maintain safe working distances; ground or isolate conductors, including service conductors; and isolate, insulate or ground pulling or tensioning equipment.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed fines total $49,000. Michels Power Division has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

This was the first OSHA inspection for Michels Power Division; however, it is a subsidiary of The Michels Co. of Brownsville, which underwent inspections before and received citations for serious violations related to excavations and gas welding.

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