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Region 5 News Release: 11-36-CHI
Feb. 3, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen       Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976       312-353-6976
E-mail: allen.scott@dol.gov       burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites North Central Power Co. Inc.
after worker fatally electrocuted near Winter, Wis.

RADISSON, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited North Central Power Co. Inc. of Radisson, following an investigation into the death of a lineman who was electrocuted while working to repair a 7,200-volt power line on Aug. 8, 2010, near Winter, Wis. The company has been issued citations for willful and serious safety violations.

"North Central Power has jeopardized the health and safety of its workers by failing to take proper safety precautions, such as requiring the use of personal protective gear and de-energizing power lines," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death."

Four willful violations have been issued to North Central Power Co. Inc., an electrical power generation, transmission and distribution company, for failing to ensure employees were protected from energized parts by wearing insulated gloves and sleeves, de-energize power lines, test lines and equipment, and install protective grounds on lines and equipment. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The company also has been issued two serious citations for allowing employees to operate chainsaws without leg and foot protection and failing to conduct jobsite safety briefings. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

North Central Power Co. Inc. faces fines of $199,800 as a result of the investigation, which meets the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Initiated in the spring of 2010, SVEP is intended to focus on recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on SVEP, go to http://www.osha.gov/dep/svep-directive.pdf.*

North Central Power operates and maintains approximately 550 miles of power lines in north central Wisconsin. The company is part of a three-way corporate structure along with Northwestern Wisconsin Electrical Co. and Dahlberg Light and Power Co. The three companies employ approximately 105 workers.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Eau Claire office at 715-832-9019. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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