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Electrical Accident Leads to Wrongful Death Suit

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Kansas City, MO – A wrongful death lawsuit against Kansas City Power & Light and a family has been set for a jury trial in early 2012.

Ronald and Patricia Basta, the parents of the late Joseph Basta, have filed for damages that came as a result of their son’s death on June 17, 2009, when he was electrocuted while doing roofing work. The owners of the house where it occurred, Larry and Judy Blankenship, have also been named in the lawsuit.

A jury trial has been scheduled to start Jan. 23, 2012, in Judge Randall Jackson’s court.

According to papers filed in the case, Joseph Basta was employed by Mike Rose Roofing, which was hired to do roof work on the Blankenships’ home. Standing on top of the roof with two other employees, Mr. Basta had finished cutting shingles and attempted to straighten himself up by placing his left hand on a weather vane connected to the ground.

He came in contact with an uninsulated split bolt connector, the plaintiffs say, and an estimated 200 volts of electricity ran through his body before a co-worker pushed him away. He jumped from the roof to the ground, landing on his feet, and curled up in the fetal position.

Attempts to revive Mr. Basta were unsuccessful. The cause of death was declared as electrocution.

The Bastas hold KCP&L responsible, saying the company should have inspected and maintained equipment supplying electricity to the home. They also allege negligence by the Blankenships for failing to maintain care of electrical equipment issues and not warning about potential dangers.

KCP&L and the Blankenships have denied all allegations, save for one. In an answer, the family admits negligence when it came to inspecting the electrical equipment and providing notice of any issues to the roof workers. KCP&L places blame on the Blankenships, Mike Rose Roofing and Mr. Basta’s co-workers.

“These individuals failed to inspect the electrical equipment, failed to warn Joseph Basta of the potential danger and failed to make the equipment safe before directing (Mr. Basta) to work near (it),” a filing stated.

KCP&L also said Mike Rose Roofing failed to comply with numerous Occupational Safety and Health Act rules, and that overhead power line conductors and their supporting instruments were plainly visible to all of the workers.

“Joseph Basta voluntarily and knowingly consented to the circumstances that resulted in his injuries and had knowledge, or with the exercise of reasonable care should have had knowledge, of the dangers of overhead electrical supply lines,” the utility said.

Story via Andrew Guag at Newspressnow.com  Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com

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Man incarcerated for not complying with court sanctions enforcing OSHA

December 30, 2010 1 comment

The following is not known to be directly related to electrical safety violataions, but was posted as notice of the increasing enforcement of OSHA and repricussions of those who know of hazards and fail to properly warn and protect their workers.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (MMD Newswire) December 29, 2010 — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced the arrest of Brian Andre, former owner of Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork, and Regina Shaw, owner of Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc., the successor company to Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ordered their arrest and incarceration for repeatedly failing to comply with court sanctions enforcing OSHA citations that had become final orders of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The two were taken into custody today by authorities.

The order for incarceration stems from Mr. Andre and Ms. Shaw’s failure to comply with sanctions ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, following the court’s initial ruling of contempt against Andre and Shaw in January 2010.

“Employers who expose workers to hazards and blatantly ignore OSHA citations will not be allowed to escape their responsibility of keeping workers safe – or sanctions levied against them for failing to do so,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo.

OSHA issued numerous citations from June 2003 to the present, to both the original company and its successor, for willful, repeat and serious violations related to fall hazards, scaffolding erection deficiencies, power tool guarding and other hazards in connection with multiple St. Louis-area projects. When the companies failed to comply with the court’s 11(b) order enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s final orders, the Labor Department’s Office of the Solicitor filed petitions for contempt.

As a result, a special master of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found Brian Andre, Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. and Regina Shaw in contempt, and ordered various sanctions including requiring them to pay outstanding penalties, continually accruing interest and other miscellaneous fees in the current amount of $258,582. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. and Regina Shaw must pay a $100 daily penalty, calculated from the time of default in early 2008 on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s final orders. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. must provide OSHA weekly notification of all current jobs and known future jobs at least 72 hours prior to commencement of work for a period of three years. The company also must provide training to all persons currently and subsequently designated as jobsite “competent persons” prior to beginning any work and provide the department with records of such training.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance

Story via MMD Newswire

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Hairdryer Shock Leaves MO Woman With Longterm Medical Problems

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Nixa, MO – If you’re like most people, your morning routine is just that — routine. You get up and get ready for the day ahead.

But a Nixa woman’s routine nearly killed her about 15 months ago.

Amanda Denham was getting ready for work when she got a shock to the system that changed everything.

The 23-year-old is a licensed cosmetologist. She does makeup, hair, nails. She did, anyway, until a “tool” of her trade took her trade away.

“I could see her hand attached to the wall with the plug in her hand,” says Delores Denham, Amanda’s mother. “As I hit the door, I knocked her away from the wall.”

The plug belonged to a hair dryer.

“I remember plugging it in, and I remember waking up basically on the floor,” says Amanda.

With hair barely damp from the night before, Amanda reached for the hair dryer. It was virtually the last time she’d reach for anything.

She can’t feel her hand or much of her right side. She needs help to walk.

In the 15 months since the shock, Herb Denham isn’t seeing progress.

“You think it’s getting worse?” asks Joy.

“Know it’s getting worse,” says Herb.

The family has had to downsize into a small apartment. Delores and Herb buy medicine for Amanda when they can, but owe more than they have.

“It’s upward of $30,000 right now,” says Delores.

Medicine for neurological problems, her constant rapid heartbeat, migraines, pain, thyroid — it’s more than the couple, who both live on social security, can afford.

“They happen on a fairly regular basis,” says Debbie Mikkelson, Director of Nursing at St. John’s Burn Center, where Amanda spent one night.

“Part of it could have been just her individual anatomy, physiology, her nerves and how it reacted to the electricity,” says Mikkelson.

“We have no way of being able to prove anything,” says Delores.

The family says it isn’t interested in suing the maker of the dryer or the plug.

“And you still use it?” asks Joy.

“Yes I do,” says Delores. “I used it this morning.”

They just hope this jolt of reality won’t keep their daughter down forever.

“It was just a freak thing, I guess,” she says.

Amanda does not use the dryer any more. She actually pulled herself together and went to work after the accident, but she went home early as paralysis started to take hold.

Now the family is working to get Medicaid so Amanda can get — and afford — a primary care doctor.

No one knows for sure what went wrong.

Story via Ozarksfirst.com