Manufacturer Fined $169,500 Following Worker's Fatal Electrocution

Two serious violations related to the fatality include not requiring employees to use work safety practices when dealing with live electrical circuits, and failing to use locks and tags when de-energizing test equipment.

OSHA has cited Howard Industries Inc. in Ellisville, Miss., for 17 safety violations following the January death of a worker who was electrocuted while calibrating a transformer test station. Proposed penalties for the citations total $169,500.

Two serious violations related to the fatality include not requiring employees to use work safety practices when dealing with live electrical circuits, and failing to use locks and tags when de-energizing test equipment. Ten additional serious violations include failing to develop specific lockout/tagout procedures, failing to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment, missing a mid-rail on an elevated platform, exposing employees to potential electric shock hazards without providing them insulated gloves or other protective equipment, allowing a plasma cutter operator to not wear safety glasses and having an unguarded shaft.

Four repeat violations include failing to provide machine guarding on the press brake and the welder, noncombustible welding screens for employees, and flexible cords in place of fixed wiring. The company was cited for all four of these same violations at its Laurel plant in June 2009.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to install metal receptacles in accordance with listing and labeling instructions.

"Tragic incidents can be avoided by following OSHA standards and safety requirements," said Clyde Payne, the agency's area director in Jackson. "It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that workers are trained and provided the appropriate protective equipment so they can perform their duties safely."

Howard Industries has two manufacturing facilities in Ellisville, two in Laurel, one in Mendenhall, one in Sandersville, Miss., and one in Weirton, W.Va. The Ellisville plant develops, designs, and manufacturers power transformers and employs approximately 167 workers.

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