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Electrical pole snaps, kills 1; 1 suffers work-related injuries

When we flip an electrical switch, whether we're turning on the television or the washing machine, we assume the power will be there. Our electric grid here in Pittsburgh and all over the country is maintained by well-trained, dedicated employees. These workers have to contend with the dangers of working with electricity on not just warm sunny days, but often in rainy, cold and otherwise treacherous environments.

So it is always tragic when work-related injuries happen, or worse, a worker is killed while ensuring we have the services we need to live our lives comfortably. One such accident occurred recently, and it claimed the life of one worker, and injured a second. The accident occurred on Feb. 27.

According to company representatives, the two men were climbing a utility pole Mason Morrow Millgrove Road and Stubbs Mill Road. While the two men were on the pole, the pole snapped and sent the two men hurtling to the ground, 20 feet below. A 43-year-old man was lifeflighted to a hospital where he later died from his injuries. The second man was taken to a local emergency room. No information was available on his condition.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called in to investigate. It is believed that both men followed proper safety procedures, since their climbing belts and spikes for their boots were still attached to the pole. There was also an indication that the pole had been struck by a hammer prior to the two men climbing it, another safety precaution.

Initial reports indicate that the pole snapped below ground. OSHA as well as the company for whom the men worked are still investigating the accident. Because of the ongoing investigation, no conclusions as to the accident's cause have been made.

Regardless of the investigation, the family of the worker that was killed, as well as the worker that was injured, have a right to seek compensation for their losses. An experienced legal professional can help the families determine what rights to damages could be available and can assist the families in deciding if this is an option worth pursuing.

Source:  WCPO Cincinnati, "OSHA investigators: Pole holding Duke Energy worker snapped below ground" Holly Pennebaker, Feb. 27, 2014

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