May 25, 2017

Electrocution Incident Reminds Employers to Develop Illness and Injury Prevention Plan

After criminal charges were recently filed against an employer for an electrocution of its employees in 2014, Western Growers Insurance Services would like to remind WG members to reinforce their personal and business risks associated with safety. 

In 2014, a two-man crew had been hired to hang a banner at a high school stadium. The man who climbed onto the scaffolding to attach the banner was electrocuted from the overhead electrical lines that were a mere two feet from the scaffolding and was killed instantly by high voltage from a 12,000-volt line. Climbing to assist, his coworker was also jolted. According to Cal/OSHA Regulations, the minimum approach distance to the line should have been six feet.

The county’s District Attorney has filed criminal charges against the safety coordinator, president and crew supervisor. They each face up to three years in prison and $250,000 fines if convicted, and the company itself faces fines up to $1.5 million.

This unfortunate incident is a reminder that liability exposure—including OSHA fines, criminal charges and penalties—potentially exists for both businesses and the specific individuals designated as responsible parties.

Members are encourage to develop and adhere to an Illness and injury Prevention Plan (IIPP), a workplace safety and prevention program. IIPPs need to be reviewed annually or more frequently as needed for potential updates or procedural/personnel changes. If you or any of your team members have questions about developing safety programs in the workplace, please contact Ken Cooper, director of risk strategy at WGIS, at (949) 379-3858.