Network Construction, which just last month was fined $3,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not following safety protocol for its workers when a storm warning is issued, was named in a wrongful death suit after one of their employees was killed by lightning in 2011 at an Atlantic City, New Jersey site.
The 40-year-old man died when lightning struck the construction site he was working on. Electricity from the strike travelled through a metal bucket that he was holding, electrocuting him. The man's wife filed the wrongful death suit which, in addition to Network Construction, cites Tishman Construction Corp.
The fatal incident occurred on September 15, 2011. A storm caused lightning strikes to hit the ground 1,200 times in the region of Atlantic City, but the 40-year-old - along with other workers injured by lightning that day - were ordered to continue working.
"That day, we were all scared, afraid for our lives because of the storm," said one of the workers hurt by lightning. "But we kept working because we were told to."
The 40-year-old's wife faults the construction companies for making her husband work "under dangerous working conditions." According to the woman's lawyer, there was an 80-foot-tall crane on the site that acted as a lightning rod, making it likely a strike would hit the construction site.
OSHA exists to enforce the safety guidelines that protect employees in their work environment, and to ensure that companies are providing such safe conditions. When companies fail to do this, OSHA can sanction the company - and it indicates that a company is liable if a worker is seriously or fatally injured.
Source: Philly.com, "Suit filed in A.C. death by lightning," Jacqueline L. Urgo, April 5, 2012