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OSHA cites Aldridge Electric after heat-related death of worker

Updated: January 4, 2014 6:18AM

CHICAGO — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Aldridge Electric Inc. for one serious safety violation following the June 25 death of a 36-year-old worker who developed heat stroke at a job site in Chicago. The company was installing electrical conduit in an uncovered trench on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Dan Ryan Red Line project when the worker became ill on his first day on the job.

“This worker died from heat stress on his first day on the job. This tragedy underscores the need for employers to ensure that new workers become acclimated and build a tolerance to working in excessive heat with a program of water, rest and shade,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “A worker’s first day on the job shouldn’t be the last day of their life.”

OSHA’s investigation found that Libertyville-based Aldridge Electric did not implement an adequate and effective heat stress program and failed to ensure a newly employed worker was acclimatized to effects of heat and physical exertion. The worker was carrying heavy electrical conduit piping in nonshaded conditions when he collapsed on the job site. He died from his illness the following day.

The serious violation was cited for failing to implement an adequate and effective heat stress program. Proposed penalties total $7,000.

Aldridge Electric is a specialty electrical contractor that employs nearly 750 workers nationwide. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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