Schneider Electric Faces $42,300 Charge for Worker's Electrocution

OSHA has cited Schneider Electric, doing business as Square D, for alleged workplace safety violations following the electrocution fatality of a worker at the company's facility in El Paso, Texas. Proposed penalties total $42,300.

OSHA's El Paso Area Office began its inspection on Jan. 21 after a worker was electrocuted when he grabbed the test leads on a shop-made cart the company used to test equipment. The investigation found that Schneider Electric, which employs about 160 workers at the facility, exposed workers to various electrical hazards during the testing process of equipment the company manufactures.

The agency has cited the company with nine serious violations including failing to ensure personal protective equipment was tested and maintained; to ensure that workers who were testing the equipment wore proper electrical-rated gloves, footwear, and/or fire-resistant clothing; to provide written procedures for equipment testing; to ensure that qualified employees were allowed to work on energized electrical parts or equipment, and to ensure that all electrical openings in boxes were properly covered and closed. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"Employees deserve a safe workplace," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "If the company had followed OSHA's standards to ensure that testing equipment was free of electrical hazards, this tragedy could have been avoided."

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

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