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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-09-891-DAL
Monday, Aug. 17, 2009
Contact: Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 972-850-4710

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites construction contractor following a fatality at a Tyler, Texas, worksite

TYLER, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tyler, Texas-based Thedford Construction Co. Inc. with two alleged willful and 10 alleged serious violations following the electrocution death of a Hispanic worker at the company's worksite in Tyler.

OSHA's Dallas Area Office began its inspection on Feb. 18 on Hidden Lake Drive in Tyler, where eight employees were upgrading underground energized power lines and pad-mounted transformers. While digging in front of a pad-mounted transformer, the employer damaged an underground power line. One of the Hispanic workers, who was unaware and uninformed that the power line was energized, began repairing the line and was electrocuted. Additionally, the investigation revealed the worker was wearing a glove with a hole in the index finger that had not been tested for insulation qualities.

"All workers, regardless of whether or not they speak English, deserve a safe workplace. Had this company implemented the requirements contained in their own safety and health program this tragedy could have been avoided," said Stephen Boyd, OSHA's area director in Dallas. "Ultimately Thedford Construction failed to ensure that its workers were protected from approaching and contacting energized, high voltage electrical equipment."

The willful violations were for failing to electrically test rubber insulated gloves at intervals not exceeding six months and failing to ensure that workers do not approach energized electrical equipment closer than two feet. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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