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OSHA: Roofing Contractor Ignored Electrocution Hazards that Killed Worker

March 26, 2015
The agency claims a roofing contractor exposed a worker to electrical hazards that killed another worker 72 hours earlier.

Andrew “CK” Sakala Jr. was fatally electrocuted on a roofing job at a Tarentum, Pa., home in September 2014 when the aluminum ladder he was using came into contact with a 7,200-volt power line.

According to OSHA, Sakala’s employer, Kolek Woodshop Inc., showed a “blatant disregard” for worker safety when three days later, the employer sent another worker to finish the job, exposing him to the same hazardous conditions that led to Sakala’s death.

“The blatant disregard for worker safety demonstrated is horrifying and completely despicable. This company’s failure to implement basic safeguards resulted in tragedy,” said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh Area Office. “Kolek’s willingness to expose another person’s life to the same dangers just 72 hours after the first fatality is alarming. Employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace, and OSHA will hold them accountable if they do not.”

OSHA cited Kolek Woodshop Inc. of Creighton, Pa., for “willfully exposing the second worker to preventable electrical hazards.” OSHA identified one alleged willful violation because Kolek exposed the second employee to the same hazards after the fatality. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. The company also failed to report the fatality to OSHA.

OSHA investigators determined that the employer provided workers with a ladder without nonconductive side rails. The ladder then contacted power lines, which resulted in the fatality. They also concluded that the company erected an aluminum scaffold too close to a 7,200-volt power line; exposed roofing workers removing shingles to fall hazards; and failed to train employees. These conditions resulted in four alleged serious violations. 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.

 Kolek faces penalties of $67,900 and has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with Robinson or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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