Pike Electric cited following deadly electrocutions of two 19-year-old apprentices in Adger
JEFFERSON Co., Ala. (WBRC) - An investigation found Pike Electric LLC, out of North Carolina, failed to protect two 19-year-old apprentices who were electrocuted and killed while working in Adger in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The two apprentices and contract workers with Alabama Power were working on the power lines in the 7300 block of Johns Road in Adger in Jefferson County on August 31, 2021. Both men worked with Pike Electric.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the men as Eli Nathaniel Babb of Kellyton and Layton River Ellison of Alexandria.
A federal workplace safety investigation into the fatal electrocutions found their employer might have prevented the incident by ensuring required safety standards were followed, and that adequate supervision and training was provided.
Investigators said the incident occurred as the two men were working on a 7,200-volt electric distribution line to restore power after a severe summer storm.
From the U.S. Department of Labor: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined Pike Electric allowed the workers to repair a downed power line without ensuring the removal of all jumpers from the power source, and failed to train workers to competently recognize electrical hazards and know the required safety procedures to address the existing hazards.
In addition, OSHA found the energy services provider failed to have an adequate number of people with first-aid training for the crew, as they performed field work on exposed lines and energized equipment. The investigation identified three serious violations for which OSHA has proposed $43,506 in penalties.
“Two young people suffered fatal electrocution because Pike Electric LLC failed to meet their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace and ensure the proper supervision of new workers,” said OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham. “Pike Electric should know the steps needed to isolate live electrical sources before making repairs on a downed electrical line and be acutely aware of the dangers. Not following safety precautions and ensuring workers understand the dangers when lives are on the line is inexcusable.”
Investigators said Pike Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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