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Region 5 News Release: 11-1104-CHI
Aug. 2, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Michels Power Division
in Brownsville, Wis., after worker is fatally electrocuted

BROWNSVILLE, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brownsville-based Michels Power Division for seven serious safety violations after a worker was fatally electrocuted on April 6 at a Livingston job site.

"Employers have a responsibility to provide job-appropriate personal protective equipment and to train workers to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Knowing what hazards exist in the workplace and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death is critical, as demonstrated by this tragic incident."

The violations involve failing to instruct workers in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions; ensure the use of personal protective equipment; protect workers from electrical shock; maintain safe working distances; ground or isolate conductors, including service conductors; and isolate, insulate or ground pulling or tensioning equipment. A serious violation occurs 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.

This was the first OSHA inspection for Michels Power Division; however, it is a subsidiary of The Michels Co. of Brownsville, which has been inspected and received citations for serious violations related to excavations and gas welding.

Proposed fines total $49,000. Michels Power Division has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Madison Area Office at 608-441-5377. 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 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 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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