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OSHA proposes $160,000 after explosion

Pennsylvania utilities companies may be aware that the Department Occupational and Safety Health Administration said that an explosion was the result of errors by a communications utilities contracting company. The company was working on underground drilling at the Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant where the explosion occurred. The workplace accident resulted in the death of one person and injuries to at least 15 people.

The explosion occurred in February after an employee of the communications company working at the site hit a gas line of about 2 inches. He was using an underground boring machine while he was laying fiber optic cable. The explosion occurred about an hour after the incident, according to federal and local authorities. One of the restaurant patrons died, while three of the individuals who were injured were employees of the company. The explosion also caused damage to nearby buildings.

OSHA cited the company for two violations, including a citation for failing to provide a safe work environment for employees. The other violation is for failure to provide employees with footwear that would protect them from electrocution. OSHA is proposing fines of up to $161,000. It also stated that companies have responsibilities to train employees about potential hazards that may be present at the work site.

Pittsburgh employees may sustain injuries due to a ladder fall, scaffolding fall, negligent operation of machinery or other dangerous conditions. OSHA may conduct an investigation when employee injuries result and can propose fines for safety violations and the existence of safety hazards. Workplace injury lawyers may be able to assist individuals who've been injured on a job site to pursue compensation for medical bills and any lost wages. The lawyer could also investigate to confirm safety violations.

Source: CNN, "OSHA cites contractor in explosion at Kansas City restaurant", Chelsea J. Carter, August 15, 2013

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