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Family Sues Verizon & Allegheny Energy After Electrocution

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

PITTSBURGH, PA – The family of a Monessen man electrocuted nearly two years ago while he installed cable in a Fayette County community has filed a lawsuit claiming he worked in an unsafe environment.

Ralph Greely died Jan. 6, 2009, when a cable was placed too close to energized power lines, creating a deadly arc that struck Greely as he worked in a bucket truck near Simpson Road in Redstone Township.

Greely, 51, worked as an installer for U.S. Utility Contractor Co. of Ellicott City, Md., which was hired by Verizon for the Fayette County job.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, Greely’s family contends Verizon and Allegheny Energy were negligent in allowing the work at that job site to proceed without first cutting the power to those lines.

“Both Verizon and Allegheny knew or should have recognized that the work at this location was likely to create a risk of death or serious harm unless the lines were de-energized or special precautions were taken,” according to the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, the Greely estate claims that Verizon failed to make sure that power was cut to the lines at the work site, did not provide safe locations where cables could be attached and failed to take other safety precautions.

Allegheny Energy did not cut power to the job site or inspect or assess the location for potential dangers, and failed to provide protective measures, according to the lawsuit.

Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski declined to comment on the lawsuit. Allegheny Energy representatives could not be reached for comment.

Greely’s estate is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

Story via PittsburghLive.com

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Contractor Killed Working on Allegheny Energy Project in WV

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

WEST VIRGINIA – A man was killed in a Tucker County helicopter accident Saturday. The helicopter was being used to work on Allegheny Energy’s TrAILCo (Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co.) project.

Three others injured in the crash were discharged Sunday after spending the night at Ruby Memorial Hospital.

West Virginia State Police identified the three as Ryan Joseph Lang, 31, of Portage, Ind.; Jeffrey M. McKay, 34, from Olive Hill, Ky.; and Robert A. Rogers, 40, of Dacula, Ga.

The fourth person was pronounced dead at the scene, Sgt. J.L. Clay said. The name of the 51-yearold man is being withheld until his next of kin have been notified.

The helicopter, owned by Winco Power Line Services of Aurora, Ore., was working for PAR Services of Kansas City, Miss., on one of the large towers installed as part of Allegheny Energy’s TrAILCo project. Three of those on board are PAR Services employees, Clay said.

The firm is building a 500-kilovolt transmission line from near Loudin, Va., across West Virginia to a new substation in Mount Morris, Pa.

Clay said in a news release that he and TFC M.S. Wetzel, both of the Parsons Detachment, answered a 10:30 a.m. Saturday call to a helicopter crash off Lead Mine Road, near Thomas, Tucker County.

The helicopter was being used to pick up the subjects, who were at the top of a large metal powerline tower, he said. The helicopter apparently maneuvered underneath the suspended wires and may have struck the wires, causing the crash, he said.

Questions about the accident were referred to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Authority, who are handling the investigation.

A Par Electrical representative referred all questions to Allegheny Energy.

The helicopter crash should not affect construction of Allegheny Energy’s TrAIL high-power electric line in that area, Allegheny Energy spokesman Doug Colafella said Sunday.

He confirmed that the helicopter was flying for a subcontractor on the TrAIL project, and said it had a pilot and three line workers on board.

“I want to make it clear that this was not an Allegheny Energy helicopter, and these were not Allegheny Energy employees,” Colafella said.

“I have no details as to how the crash occurred,” Colafella said. “I just know that its a very tragic accident. We’re very upset this occurred.

“This is a really important project for our company. Safety has been a commitment. We emphasize safety in every aspect, from the most dangerous to most routine.”