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Lack of protection, training leads to fatal industrial accident

A Missouri company that provides electrical chargers to various industries nationwide was recently found responsible for the death of a worker who was electrocuted. This tragic industrial accident left a young girl without a father and changed the dynamics of the man's surviving family forever. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says its electrical safety standard regulation is among the 10 OSHA standards that are repeatedly violated.

According to this regulation, every workplace must be assessed to identify potential safety hazards, and personal protection equipment must be issued to workers where necessary. Procedures to control energy must be in place to avoid incidents in which the unexpected activation of machines and equipment can injure workers. Also, workers must receive adequate training related to the isolation of energy sources prior to performing maintenance or servicing of machines.

The man who lost his life in this accident was electrocuted while testing transformers. OSHA classified this as a preventable death, stating that proper personal protective equipment and adequate training could have saved his life. OSHA cited the company for no less than 15 safety violations, of which one was willful. In addition to violating energy control and personal protection regulations, other violations included the absence of safety guards around moving machine parts and allowing workers to use powered industrial vehicles that were damaged. Furthermore, hazardous chemicals were found to be improperly stored.

Such disregard of safety regulations by a company owner is completely inexcusable and can lead to an industrial accident with devastating consequences. Regardless of the penalties company owners may have to face, the economic implications for affected families could be crippling. Although the monetary aid provided by the Missouri workers' compensation to cover medical and/or end-of-life expenses may lessen the financial burden, the void left by the death of a loved one will remain forever.

Source: ehstoday.com, "OSHA: Lack of PPE and Training Cost Electrical Technician His Life", Sandy Smith, May 19, 2015

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