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OSHA investigates after worker's fatal accident

For many Minnesota employers, implementing a worker's compensation program is an integral part of facilitating communication and reaching an agreeable solution if an accident ever occurs in the workplace. In fact, many employers go to extensive lengths to identify and implement protocols designed to protect their assets, property and the well-being of their workers. However, in some circumstances, employers are unable to monitor everything their workers do, which can sometimes create substantial danger. 

This was recently the case in an incident that was investigated by OSHA in the state of Nevada. A large solar facility in Nye County required the assistance of a subcontractor for unspecified electrical work. An employee of the subcontractor was found unresponsive in the facility's laydown yard. He also had significant burn injuries to his chest, hands and arms. Evidence found in the area including jumper cables, led investigators to believe that the man was doing fractal wood burning against the knowledge of his employer and the facility's management. Fractal wood burning is where electricity is used to make art by burning wood.

Because the accident occurred on the premises of the employer's facility, an OSHA investigation was launched to identify potential violations that could have lead to the worker's death. However, findings concluded that no violations occurred and no citations would be issued as the employer had no reasonable idea to believe or know of the worker's involvement in fractal wood burning. Additionally, the worker did not have any jobs assigned to him on the day of his death which further distanced his employer from any immediate involvement or responsibility in his death. 

When a workplace accident occurs and OSHA becomes involved, employers may wish to enlist the help of a qualified attorney to provide insight and assistance in navigating the complications that often surround complex cases when a worker is injured or killed.

Source: Pahrump Valley Times, "Nevada OSHA completes investigation into worker's death in Nye County," November 17, 2017

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