In a prepared statement, Duke spokesman Valerie A. Patterson said: “Duke Energy representatives reached a settlement agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the citation from the tragic event (f) Oct. 15, 2014, that fatally injured Chris Dasher, an Electrician Apprentice from Wildwood Operations Center. Following receipt of the initial citation April 15, Duke Energy representatives and others participated in discussions with OSHA officials to reach the settlement.”
OSHA officials said that with Duke Energy officials signing the informal settlement agreement, they waive the right to contest the citations and penalties and agree to several stipulations.
Those agreements include:
* Duke agrees to establish and/or continue to provide a safety and health training program to reduce hazards in the workplace. We know Duke already does this. Might be some site lapses but this is common in Duke.
* Duke agrees to conduct regular safety and health inspections of its job sites and maintain written records of these inspections for ownership to regularly review. We know Duke already does this. Might be some site lapses but this is common too.
* Within 60 days of signing the agreement, the president of Duke Energy Florida Inc. shall make a statement to all its employees regarding the company’s commitment to safety and health, and that its supervisors and any other personnel on any work site shall be held responsible for safety and health compliance; and will utilize the services of an outside safety and health consulting service to conduct comprehensive safety and occupational health inspections of its substation job sites. This is a good positive agreement and I’m sure they will find some things they can fix.
Both parties have agreed to a reduced fine of $35,000. That amount must be paid by Friday, or the original penalty of $90,000 will be assessed.
Hopefully the above process will result in positive changes and identification of ways to prevent other injuries or fatalities in the future. These incidents can happen in any company and even the best companies have bad employees, OR a bad manager OR blind spots.