Electrical Contractor Convicted of OSHA Violations Fined $500,000 by Federal Magistrate

A Rolling Meadows, Ill., electrical contractor has been fined $500,000 by a federal magistrate after being convicted in May on criminal charges stemming from the death of a worker.

Federal Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown of the Northern District of Illinois sentenced the L. E. Myers Co. following its conviction for violating five OSHA standards that caused the death of Blake Lane, 20, during his second day on the job as a Myers apprentice.

The judge imposed a fine of $500,000, the maximum penalty provided under the law. In addition, Brown sentenced Myers to a period of 3 years of probation during which, among other things, the company must permit OSHA to inspect its worksites without a warrant and brief OSHA annually regarding the safety and health of its employees.

"We are pleased that the judge in this case imposed the maximum penalty, and it should send a loud and clear message that this department will continue to aggressively enforce the law to protect workers," U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said of the judge's sentence.

Lane, of Sullivan, Ill., only had recently begun training in the power-line construction industry when he was jolted by 2,400 volts of electricity atop a 120-foot steel tower in Mt. Prospect, Ill., on Dec. 28, 1999.

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