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Region 8 News Release: 11-130-DEN
Feb. 8, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302
E-mail: Kulczewski.Richard@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites North Western Energy in Billings,
Mont., for electrical hazards after employee injured by high-voltage equipment

BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to North Western Energy in Billings for one repeat and two serious safety violations after an employee was injured while working on high-voltage equipment.

"An apprentice lineman came into contact with 7,200 volts and was seriously injured because this employer failed to implement safety standards, even though the company previously had been cited for similar violations at its Corwin Springs, Mont., facility," said Christine A. Webb, OSHA's area director in Billings.

The repeat citation was issued for failing to implement a minimum distance from high-voltage equipment. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

North Western Energy was cited with two serious violations for failing to train workers on equipment used to energize electrical lines, and to examine, clean and test electrical equipment. 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.

OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $49,000 for the citations.

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

To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency'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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