A San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) worker’s accidental fall that left him without an arm could have been prevented, according to the completed investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The fall happened on August 15, 2016 when the worker, Scott Crummy, made contact with an electrical line. The shock sent him to the hospital.
His family’s attorney said he lost his arm and was in the hospital for months following the accident.
In its report, OSHA said:
“Prior to and during the course of the inspection, including but not limited to, August 15 2016, two employees of a four man crew were assigned the task of changing out a utility pole from an existing wood to a steel pole. The employer permitted two employees to perform the work from an aerial device between the two energized high voltage conductors installing electrical components on the cross arm of the new pole system… the employer failed to ensure the high voltage conductors within reach were covered with suitable protective equipment… as a result, the employees were exposed an arc flash and one employee was seriously injured.”
OSHA issued a total of three citations for SDG&E, and is proposing a penalty of $41,870.
It is also requiring SDG&E provide insulating equipment, such as rubber hose lines, blankets designed for the voltages that will “be encountered by employees during the work and to ensure the equipment is used for their safety in a contact area.”
Days after the accident, Crummy’s wife issued a statement on behalf of his family, saying he loved his job as a lineman.
“I am thankful for our family, his IBEW Brothers and our friends, who have shown us so much love and support as we sit by Scott’s side,” his wife said.
SDG&E had eight OSHA violations before this case, stemming back from 2012.
In one case from 2012, OSHA said a worker was climbing a pole for training when the pole broke and tipped over, resulting in that worker falling 40 feet to the ground. In another 2013 case, OSHA said an employee fell while climbing an electrical pole, and was hospitalized for “multiple fractures due to the fall.” In both cases, SDG&E reached a settlement.
SDG&E released the following statement to NBC 7:
"At SDG&E, we believe in creating a culture where our employees return home each day just as they arrive. We take the safety of our employees very seriously, including providing all appropriate training and equipment. We have appealed the citations."
The family of the lineman is now working on legal action against SDG&E.