$1,950,000 – Electrocution At Worksite

On July 30, 1987, a 24-year-old carpenter was electrocuted when an extension cord with a breach in its insulated covering contacted a metal stud wall that he was installing at a construction site in Philadelphia, Pa.

Suit was brought against the electrical contractor, the general contractor, and the electrical inspection agency that inspected and approved the temporary electrical system. Plaintiff maintained that no ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) was present at the time of the accident. Both the National Electrical Code and OSHA require that electrical systems at temporary construction sites be protected by either a GFCI or an assured equipment grounding conductor program, which involves weekly checks of all cords, plugs, and receptacles.

Plaintiff alleged that the electrical contractor’s electrician was unlicensed and that even if he had installed a ground fault circuit interrupter, he failed to test it before its installation. It was further alleged that the general contractor’s job site supervisor lacked sufficient construction experience and was unaware of the basic safety requirements of either OSHA or the National Electrical Code. Plaintiff maintained that the electrical inspection company negligently approved a temporary electrical box that did not contain GFCI’s.

Defendants contended that a GFCI was present at the time of the accident. Injury: Death. The decedent was survived by a wife and two young children. The decedent had earned approximately $12,000 in the last full year prior to his death.

Result: $1.95 million settlement. The electrical contractor contributed SI,050,000; the general contractor contributed 5700,000 and the electrical inspection company contributed $200,000.

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