KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A contractor for the Knoxville Utilities Board committed 10 serious safety violations in an accident that killed a worker, Tennessee regulators have determined.
Michael Tallent, of Powell, was standing on the ground holding stabilizing cables attached to a crane when the crane touched overhead power lines on Dec. 31, electrocuting the 27-year-old, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/17LkcIW ).
Tallent was working at the site on a two-month job with W&O Construction Company Inc., the general contractor for the utility's wastewater treatment plant expansion. He had been hired through a day labor firm.
Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators recommended penalties against the Livingston firm totaling $24,000. The violations the agency found included failing to train workers on grounding equipment, failing to cut power to electrical lines, and failing to properly train employees about safely working around power lines.
W&O has corrected those problems and plans to contest the penalties, vice president Tim Huddleston said.
The utilities board said Tuesday it hadn't seen the TOSHA report.
Prior to Tallent's death, workers at W&O sites had suffered several injuries including amputations, falls and fractures, prompting the utilities board to order the company to hire an outside firm to oversee safety, according to the TOSHA report.
The investigators singled out the supervisor on the wastewater treatment job. In previous weeks, the supervisor had the utilities board disconnect power lines so workers could safely maneuver the crane around the wires, though power was later restored.
"He (the supervisor) knew the lines had been recently re-energized and visible grounds removed, but never communicated this information to employees working in that area," the report states.
The supervisor's name is redacted from the TOSHA report as allowed by state law.
Huddleston said the unidentified supervisor no longer works for the company.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com