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OSHA News Release
Region 7

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

October 29, 2019

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Utility Pole Company
in Heat-Related Fatality at Nebraska Worksite

INMAN, NE – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Smith Mountain Investments LLC after a heat-related fatality at a jobsite in Inman, Nebraska.

An employee became ill while performing extreme physical activity in excessive temperatures in July 2019 and later died. OSHA cited the Anson, Maine-based company for two serious safety and health violations for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with heavy physical activity in extreme heat conditions, and ensure medical care was available. The utility pole inspection company faces $18,564 in penalties.

"Death from heat related illness is a preventable tragedy," said OSHA Omaha Acting Area Director Matt Thurlby. "When working in dangerously high temperatures, employers are responsible for implementing a heat safety program that includes modifying work practices, using controls to reduce heat stress and requiring water and rest breaks in shaded areas."

OSHA's Heat page provides information on assessing hazards associated with extreme physical activity while working in elevated temperatures and minimizing the potential impact on employees.

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. For more information, visit

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-4727,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 19-1830-KAN

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