Home > Fatalities, Industrial, Legal, Shock > Ferrellgas Fined for High Voltage Electrical Accident in WA

Ferrellgas Fined for High Voltage Electrical Accident in WA

AUBURN, WASHINGTON – An Auburn propane company where two men were electrocuted earlier this year has been cited and fined by the state Department of Labor and Industries. According to the Nov. 12 citation, Ferrellgas failed to foresee the danger posed from a high-voltage power line over its property and failed to properly train employees on how to avoid it, the Labor and Industries investigation found.

Specifically, Ferrellgas did not ensure that employees maintained a minimum distance of 10 feet between high-voltage lines and any equipment they were using. Nor did it seek to deactivate the 7,200-volt power line or insulate, the investigation found.

The company was fined $8,400, according to the citation.

Mark Olson, 41, of Auburn, and Scott Pigg, 25, of University Place, Pierce County, were electrocuted May 26 when the tip of the boom truck they were using to move propane tanks around the company yard touched an overhead power line.

Olson had joined the company in January 2006 and worked as a field-installation specialist, setting up propane tanks for customers. Pigg, a material handler, had been working for Ferrellgas since July 2007.

The two men had been involved in the company’s annual inventory in the gas-tank storage yard when the fatal accident occurred, according to Labor and Industries spokesman Hector Castro.

Representatives of Ferrellgas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

However, Castro said members of the company were “extremely traumatized” by the accident and already had taken measures to eliminate the chance of similar accidents by the time the citation was issued.

“It was very traumatic to them, and they got rid of the crane and moved all the propane tanks away from the power lines,” Castro said. “They just hadn’t realized the hazard the power line posed.”

Story Via Seattle Times

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