The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a $57,900 fine against a Pennsylvania painting contractor alleging workplace safety violations that led to the electrocution of one of its painters.
Paul Thompson, 48, of Pittsburgh, was using a metal extension pole to paint the side of an office building on April 7 when the extension pole came in contact with a 12,500-volt power line. It was Thompson’s second day on the job with Modern Painting & Decorating of Springdale, PA.
"The employer was aware of the existence and proximity of the overhead power lines, as well as the danger they posed to employees, yet took no action to ensure worker safety," said Robert Szymanski, area director of OSHA's office in Pittsburgh, PA.
OSHA initiated its investigation the day of the incident. Modern Painting & Decorating has declined to comment.
The company was cited with one willful violation for permitting employees to work in proximity to energized electric power circuits. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to, or intentional disregard for, employees' safety and health.
OSHA inspectors also issued two serious violations, saying the company had not provided adequate fall protection or trained employees in the recognition and avoidance of fall hazards. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard that an employer knew or should have known exists.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the citations and proposed penalties.