News sources said a crew employed by Pipe Contracting LLC was repairing the sewer system when a machine the workers were using touched a 23,000-volt high-tension line. The volts traveled down the machine and electrocuted 30-year-old Christopher J. Diaz. Two other workers who tried to pull the equipment off Diaz also suffered electrical shocks and were taken to a local hospital.
Approximately 300 residents in the area temporarily lost power as a result of the accident.
OSHA cited Pipe Contracting for failing to:
- develop and implement procedures for confined space entry
- train employees on confined space hazards
- conduct atmospheric testing before permitting entry into a sewer line
- use a retrieval line; and
- complete proper permits.
The company faces $331,101 in proposed penalties and has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry," said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. "Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this."