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Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation [FACE] Program

The following is a fatality investigation report of an incident resulting in the death of a worker. This case was investigated by state investigators in state FACE programs

Hispanic Painter Electrocuted When the Aluminum Extension Ladder He was Positioning Contacted an Overhead Powerline - South Carolina

On March 25, 2003, a Hispanic painter/caulker (the victim) was electrocuted when the aluminum 40-foot extension ladder he was attempting to reposition contacted a 13.8 kilovolt overhead powerline. On April 8, 2003, officials of the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration (SCOSHA) notified the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Safety Research (DSR), of the incident. On June 19, 2003, a DSR senior investigator and a safety and occupational health specialist conducted an investigation of the incident. The incident was reviewed with the SCOSHA compliance officer assigned to the case. Diagrams and photographs of the incident site taken by SCOSHA shortly after the incident were reviewed. No site visit was conducted because the project had been completed. The victim's employer and the other three painter/caulkers returned to Mexico immediately following the incident and could not be interviewed. The prime contractor and the subcontractor who contracted with the victim's employer were interviewed by telephone, and the coroner and police reports were reviewed.

According to SCOSHA and the subcontractor, the victim's employer had entered the United States from Mexico approximately eight months prior to the incident with his four-man crew. OSHA records indicate no evidence of any safety and health training programs. The victim's employer could speak very limited English. The other four workers could not speak or understand English. No other company information could be obtained. The subcontractor who had contracted the victim's employer said that the employer had worked for him on two other jobs. No written contracts existed for any of these jobs. The prime contractor and the hiring contractor had safety and health programs written in English. No training was provided to the employer by either.

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