OSHA Cites Solar Contractor After Worker Dies at Kansas Jobsite

Mnet 175641 Osha Logo

FORT RILEY, KS — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Maryland-based contractor Power Factor LLC for exposing workers to electrical hazards after an employee was fatally electrocuted while installing solar panels on a building in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Inspectors determined that the employee was hoisting a metal rail that came into contact with energized overhead power lines. OSHA cited Power Factor LLC for permitting employees to work in close proximity to electrical power circuits without de-energizing and grounding the circuits, or guarding the circuits using insulation or other means; and failing to maintain a safety program to conduct regular inspections of the jobsite, and train workers to recognize and avoid hazards. The company faces penalties of $39,836 for four serious violations.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had complied with electrical standards that require maintaining a safe distance from unprotected energized power lines, training employees, and providing personal protective equipment," said OSHA Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

More in Safety