Cal/OSHA has cited a well water services company from Santa Maria for its role in causing an electrocution incident that killed one worker and seriously injured another. The accident occurred when a pump hoist came in contact with an energized overhead power line.  

Several laws govern work in and around live power lines in order to safeguard both workers and others nearby.  For example, California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 2946 provides that no person, firm or corporation shall require or permit any employee to perform any function in proximity to energized high voltage electric lines…” unless the high voltage line has been effectively guarded against.” Further, when using boom-type hoisting equipment near an overhead line with a voltage level of 600 to 50,000, a 10-foot minimum clearance must be maintained.  As the voltage increases, the required clearance does as well.  

Additionally, pursuant to California Penal Code, Section 385, it is a misdemeanor for anyone to be within six feet of an overhead electric line having a voltage in excess of 750 volts, or to more or operation any equipment, tools, machines or structure within six feet of the line unless authorized by the owner on the line.

In this instance, the company was citied for failing to follow high voltage safety orders, including that employers notify the high-voltage power line company if equipment will approach closer than 10 feet and for failing to evaluate hazards and implement necessary safeguards to minimize workers’ exposure to harm. 

When workers are injured (or in the worst case, killed) as the result of a company’s failure to follow proper safety guidelines and protocols, the individual and his/her family members can file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.  Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to bring a civil action for damages, including lost wages and medical expenses. Often the existence of OSHA violations can be used as evidence of negligence in California personal injury lawsuits, and help establish the duty of care required by a wrongdoer.

To determine the best course of action if you or a loved one has been injured in any type of workplace accident, please contact the Oakland construction accident lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.