CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Aldridge Electric Inc. for one serious safety violation following the June 25 death of a 36-year-old worker who developed heat stroke at a job site in Chicago. The company was installing electrical conduit in an uncovered trench on the Chicago Transit Authority's Dan Ryan Red Line project when the worker became ill on his first day on the job.
'This worker died from heat stress on his first day on the job. This tragedy underscores the need for employers to ensure that new workers become acclimated and build a tolerance to working in excessive heat with a program of water, rest and shade,' said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. 'A worker's first day on the job shouldn't be the last day of their life.'
OSHA's investigation found that Aldridge Electric did not implement an adequate and effective heat stress program and failed to ensure a newly employed worker was acclimatized to effects of heat and physical exertion. The worker was carrying heavy electrical conduit piping in nonshaded conditions when he collapsed on the job site. He died from his illness the following day.
The serious violation was cited for failing to implement an adequate and effective heat stress program. 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.
Information and resources for workers and employers on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, are available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html. OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites, which can be downloaded at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html. The application displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level.
Proposed penalties total $7,000. Aldridge Electric, based in Libertyville, Ill., is a specialty electrical contractor that employs nearly 750 workers nationwide. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or the agency's Calumet City, Ill., office at 708-891-3800.
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.