Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Electrocutions at L.E. Myers: Safety Last?

Good, long article from the Chicago Tribune on electrocutions at L.E. Myers. I recall reading an artilce about L.E. Myers in the Wall St. Journal about a year and a half ago. They had implemented a new safety program, heavily laden with one of the most intricate safety incentive programs I've ever come across, and laced with reminders to workers that they have families (in case they forget and go get themselves killed.)
Blake Lane was 20 years old when he died, jolted by 2,400 volts of electricity in 1999 while working atop a 120-foot steel tower in Mt. Prospect.

A rookie in the power-line construction industry--it was just his second day as an employee of electrical contractor L.E. Myers Co.--Lane touched a wire that he did not know was carrying current.

Authorities later charged that Lane was a victim of a company that has failed for decades to adequately enforce safety measures at its far-flung work sites.

Rolling Meadows-based L.E. Myers has a long history of on-the-job deaths, accidents and safety violations. At least 35 employees have died--17 by electrocution--in the three decades the government has been keeping workplace safety records.

The deaths and accidents at L.E. Myers raise questions about the company's commitment to safety as well as about the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, created by Congress in 1970 to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.