Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Employer sentenced for ignoring workers' safety

We wrote a few months back about a Pennsylvania worker that was electrocuted when coming into contact with a power line. As a follow up to this story, his employer has since pled guilty to a willful violation of various labor laws that may have resulted in the worker's death.

The power lines that carried 7,500 volts were within two feet of the roof of the building where the electrocution took place. Though Allegheny Power covered these lines with protective sleeves when the work originally took place, the sleeves were not present when work resumed in 2010.

The deceased worker had been asked to do some painting towards the top of the building. He had not received any safety training concerning his job duties, and he was only told to be extra careful when performing work near the power lines.

Unfortunately, while reaching over the building's parapet with a roller attached to a fiberglass pole, the pole likely came into contact with the power lines. The company for which the worker was employed had previously paid a fine of $57,000 for three Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations regarding this incident, and now the owner of the painting company has also been sentenced for a year of probation.

All of the labor laws in the world are ineffective if employers deliberately disregard the rules. That appears to have been the case in the above worker's death. This is likely all too common. Workplaces are often in a hurry to finish up on work projects and in doing so these employers take shortcuts on safety.

A sentence as the one handed out may provide incentives for employers to improve worker safety. However, this will not help the family members of workers that were injured or died in these workplace accidents. That's where an attorney can come in that understands worker safety laws, and also understands the workers' compensation system.

Source: Tribune Live, "Judge sentences Springdale man to probation in worker's electrocution," Oct. 26, 2012

  • Please see our Pittsburgh workers' compensation site to understand your options if a workers' accident occurs.

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