Federal investigators looking into a workplace electrocution accident that killed a 30-year-old construction worker and injured two others have cited a Pennsylvania construction company for multiple safety violations with proposed penalties of more than $331,000.
Thirty-year-old Christopher Diaz, an employee of Insight Pipe Contracting of Butler, Pennsylvania, was working at a sewer line installation project in nearby Johnstown in April when he leaned against a hydraulic forklift that came in contact with overhead power lines. The short delivered a deadly current of electricity to Mr. Diaz through the forklift, killing him on the job site.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that two coworkers also suffered electrical shock injuries when they tried to help Mr. Diaz. Both construction workers were hospitalized with electrocution injuries.
According to The Butler Eagle, Mr. Diaz had overcome drug addiction and found fulfillment in helping others trying to kick their drug dependence. His mother, Deborah Busin, told The Butler Eagle that Mr. Diaz enjoyed being a father and had discovered he had a special talent for motivational speaking. He spoke regularly to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous in his quest to help others recovering from drug addiction. He also loved his construction job and his coworkers and earned a decent living.
“He had gotten his life together and he was happy,” Mr. Diaz’s mother, Deborah Busin, told The Butler Eagle.
OSHA investigated Mr. Diaz’s fatal electrocution accident and uncovered multiple safety violations that put workers at risk of injury or worse. On Oct. 4, the agency proposed fines of $331,101. The agency also put Insight Pipe Contracting in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, subjecting it to closer regulatory oversight.
“Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry,” said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. “Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this.”