OSHA Proposes $49K in Penalties for NorthWestern

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $49,000 in penalties against Montana-based NorthWestern Energy after an apprentice lineman was seriously injured when he came into contact with 7,200 volts of electricity.

OSHA area director Christine A. Webb of Billings, Mont., said that NorthWestern had previously been cited for similar violations at its Corwin Springs facility. The company was given a repeat citation for failing to implement a minimum distance from high-voltage equipment.

Northwestern spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch says NorthWestern reported the August incident to OSHA. She says the lineman has recovered and is back at work.

NorthWestern has 15 days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or to contest the finding.

Rapkoch says NorthWestern is reviewing the citations before deciding its next step.