Pa. Roofing Firm Fined $100K in Worker’s Electrocution Death

September 10, 2006

A Pennsylvania roofing company faces federal workplace safety fines of $102,000 following the death of an employee who was electrocuted when his scaffold came into contact with a power line.

Zeke & Son Roofing and Siding Specialists was named in citations issued last week by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding the March 10 death of Regis Williams, 24, of Pittsburgh.

OSHA proposed a $70,000 penalty for willful violation, saying the Coraopolis company was wrong to erect the scaffold Williams was using within four feet of a 4,000-volt power line. OSHA was seeking $32,000 in other fines for six violations including failure to provide employees with fall protection and a functional ladder.

Investigators found that a power line fell on an aluminum ladder employees were using to climb onto the scaffolding earlier that day. After Duquesne Light officials arrived to repair the line, they ordered Zeke & Son to move the scaffold because it was too close to the power lines.

The company’s workers started dismantling the scaffold, but apparently put it back up after Duquesne Light officials left because Williams was later jolted off the scaffold and killed, OSHA found.

Williams fell 30 feet to the ground, but authorities said the electrical shock killed him.

Zeke & Sons has 15 days to appeal the citations before an independent OSHA review commission.

An attorney for the company said the fines will be contested and are not final. He declined further comment because the matter is still being litigated.

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