U.S. Department of Labor Cites Contractor for Electrical Death of Employee

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Contractor for Electrical Death of Employee

United Signs & Signals puts employee in harm’s way when failing to ensure electricity was secured.

Contact with live wires led to the fatal electrocution of a 44-year-old technician at an Orlando worksite. On March 2, 2011, the worker climbed into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights. Not long after, the technician was electrocuted then died. OSHA investigators deemed this avoidable had the employer taken required safety measures.

OSHA cited United Signs & Signals Inc. – operating as US&S – with two willful violations for exposing workers to electrical-shock hazards by failing to de-energize or guard circuits and exposing workers to cave-in hazards by neglecting to ensure the use of protective measures to safeguard employees. OSHA also cited US&S with two serious violations for not ensuring workers had a safe means to exit excavations and allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water.

OSHA proposed $237,566 in penalties.

“A man is dead because of US&S's willful indifference toward protecting its workers,” said OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida. “This terrible loss should remind employers that safety measures are never optional, and the consequences for ignoring them can be fatal.”

Based in Tavares, FL, US&S is a contractor specializing in lighting as well as the design, construction and installation of roadway and highway signs. The company has 15 days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent OSH Review Commission. Learn more about protecting workers against electrical shock and electrocution here.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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