A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee sustained severe burns from electrical shock while on assignment for Parallel Employment Group of Wisconsin Inc. Working at the Arvato Digital Services LLC distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., the employee came in contact with an energized electrical source and suffered electrical shock. This May 19, 2014 incident caused severe burns and left the employee unable to work for more than four months.
Temp agencies, host companies share responsibility
OSHA cited Arvato Digital Services for one willful and 10 serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $124,000. The Oak Creek-based staffing agency, Parallel Employment Group, was cited for four serious violations and faces penalties of $26,000. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control and responsibility for temporary employee safety and health.
"Workers should not conduct maintenance and trouble-shooting without shutting down electrical sources and wearing personal protective equipment. Those actions can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by this worker," said Chris Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. OSHA's investigation found the worker, who had been employed for about eight months, had inadvertent contact with electrical equipment while trouble-shooting an electrical failure on a heat-sealing machine.
Arvato Digital Services failed to implement electrical safety practices for employees, which resulted in one willful violation.
Failure to train
Arvato Digital Services and Parallel Employment Group were cited for failure to train temporary employees in electrical safety and exposing workers to operating machinery parts on conveyers and press equipment. These serious violations exposed workers to electrical shock and amputation.
Additionally, Arvato Digital Services failed to require personal protective equipment for employees working near exposed, energized electrical parts. The company also did not develop procedures to de-energize circuits and equipment safely or ensure stored energy capacitors were grounded.
Arvato Digital Services is a global company with about 1,500 workers in North America, including 150 permanent workers at its Pleasant Prairie warehouse. The company also has facilities in Valencia, California, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Parallel Employment Group has placed about 400 workers at Arvato Digital Services performing maintenance, forklift operation, stock and distribution tasks.