A lineman nearly died after an accident in North Fayette on 14 August, and he is now confused due to receiving a termination letter in the mail from his employer. The incident occurred when West Penn Power sent the man and a fellow lineman to fix a transformer at an industrial park.
While the former employee is unclear what caused the shock he received, a jolt sent him into a piece of live wire. The lineman was in a coma for 11 days, and his family was told the accident was likely fatal. He suffered third degree burns along half his back and in his airway and needed many surgeries and skin grafts after the accident.
Despite being proud of his career and wishing to go back to work, the worker was terminated by West Penn after eight years of employment. The letter the company sent cited improper safety practices and multiple violations, but the employee said he followed safety protocols and wore the proper equipment when the accident took place. The man does not know the specific reasons for his termination, and a representative from First Energy, which is West Penn’s parent company, reported that it does not publicly discuss personnel issues.
In situations like this where industrial accidents injure workers, employees can seek compensation for medical bills resulting from an accident through workers’ compensation. In many cases, companies must provide this coverage even if a workplace accident is the fault of the injured worker. While it may not be entirely clear what happened in this instance, employers cannot fire or replace a worker without reason while recovering from a workplace accident.