Last year, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development fined a furniture plant $14,750 after the Tennessee Occupational Hazards and Safety Administration investigated the electrocution of a worker.
The 26-year-old worker in Whitesburg, Tennessee was cleaning the debris off of a gang rip saw at the furniture plant. He wasn’t aware the power cord connecting to the saw had been damaged repeatedly by a lift table used with the saw. The flexible cord had seven damaged areas, which includes two complete breaks in the wire that had been improperly “repaired” and haphazardly enclosed in electrical tape. Grounding wire was also covered in insulation, essentially stopping it from working.
The damage to the cord allowed the lifting table to come into contact with the exposed copper wiring. When the worker made to clean the area, he came into contact with the saw and the table at the same time, which triggered the electrocution. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just one shock. Two of the fuses inside the saw’s electrical panel tripped, which allowed the electricity to continue to flow. Coworkers found the electrocuted worker collapsed onto his desk. When coworkers tried to touch the worker, they received a shock. The worker was pronounced dead when he was transported to a local hospital.
FURNITURE PLANT WORKER’S DEATH COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED
The state of the cord was unacceptable. Had the cord just been replaced and the lift table properly moved around, this worker would not have died. With all of the machines manufacturing plants operate with, companies should take better care to educate its workers of the safety hazards the workers could run into. It is also the company’s responsibility to properly maintain each piece of equipment under the roof, including power cords. TOSHA should also issue regular inspections to particularly hazardous workplaces.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21