A tragic incident in North Carolina has led to the deaths of two 19-year-old apprentices at an electrical construction company. An OSHA investigation into the fatal electrocutions on Aug. 31, 2021 found that the employer might have prevented the incident through required safety standards, adequate supervision and training.
A press release from OSHA says the two apprentices were working on a 7,200-volt electric distribution line in an attempt to restore power following a severe summer storm. The company listed in the investigation, Pike Electric, allowed the workers to repair the downed line without ensuring the removal of all jumpers from the power source, and failed to train workers to competently recognize electrical hazards and know the required safety procedures to address the existing hazards.
OSHA also found that the company failed to have an adequate number of people with first-aid training for the crew, as they performed field work on exposed lines and energized equipment.
The investigation identified three serious violations for which OSHA has proposed $43,506 in penalties.
“Two young people suffered fatal electrocution because Pike Electric LLC failed to meet their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace and ensure the proper supervision of new workers,” said OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham in the press release. “Pike Electric should know the steps needed to isolate live electrical sources before making repairs on a downed electrical line and be acutely aware of the dangers. Not following safety precautions and ensuring workers understand the dangers when lives are on the line is inexcusable.”