Like most states, Colorado has electrical lines that run throughout the state. Some of these lines are considered high-voltage and can be incredibly dangerous if handled improperly. Energy companies that maintain these types of high-voltage power lines should be making sure that employees are trained to handle the equipment correctly. This type of training can help prevent serious workplace injuries.
Recently, an energy company was issued several citations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration after an employee was seriously injured. The employee had been working on one of the power lines that carried over 7,000 volts.
The energy company is facing almost $50,000 in penalties for the three citations it received as a result of this particular incident. The first citation was for violating the requirement that employees maintain a certain distance from high-voltage equipment. The company had apparently received a citation for this violation in the past.
The other two citations were for the company's failure to properly train employees when handling certain equipment. This type of citation was a serious citation because an employee could have been seriously injured or died as a result. Because of the hazardous equipment, employees should have been trained on ways to properly clean and test equipment.
Though this incident occurred in Montana, employees in Colorado that work for a similar company could face these same dangers if the employer fails to follow federal safety regulations. Work injuries can not only impact an employee physically, but can also affect their ability to make a living.
In the event of a work accident, an injured employee can seek workers' compensation. These benefits can help an employee with costs associated with medical treatment. In addition, workers' compensation can help an employee cover lost wages while they are recovering.
Source: OSHA News Release online, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites North Western Energy in Billings, Mont., for electrical hazards after employee injured by high-voltage equipment," 08 February 2011