David Bergman, an employee of a contractor performing work for FirstEnergy, died following a workplace accident at the Harrison Power Station in Harrison County on March 20, 2013. The accident occurred around 8:45 a.m., according to OSHA area director Prentice Cline.
Mr. Bergman, age 57, was an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors Inc., an insulating company based in Pittsburgh, according to FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young.
According to the State Journal, the contracting company, Burnham Industrial, was removing insulation from ductwork in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance outage when their employee Mr. Bergman fell through and into the ductwork, according to a March 20 letter from the power station’s director, James Graf, to employees.
“Scaffold planks on the duct structure beams were being used throughout the job to prevent any direct contact with the duct plating,” Graf’s letter reads. “At this time, it is not clear how the employee was positioned to have any contact with the duct plating.”
As a personal injury attorney who has had the privilege of helping the families of employees killed or injured while working at power plants, I am always saddened to hear that there is another family whose life has now been forever changed by a tragic death associated with working conditions at a local power plant.
Utility Workers Union of American attorney Mark Brooks shared a little more information.
“We were told that the company (Burnham) had worked on that particularly duct work and moved on to another part of the plant,” Brooks said. “And this worker went back to retrieve some tools and he was later found having fallen through a weak spot in the ductwork.”
He said it’s his understanding that the temperature inside the ductwork, when operating, approaches 300 degrees, and that Bergman was found by another Burnham employee.
He was unable to say whether it is standard practice to perform work on ductwork while the system is in operation.
According to an update to the State Journal, Mr. Bergman, a United States Veteran, is survived by a wife, four children, and 11 grandchildren.
Although employers are immune from common-law negligence claims through Worker’s Compensation laws, families of fatally injured employees have a cause of action against employers who deliberately expose their employees to known unsafe conditions in the workplace.
The insurance companies will be doing everything within their legal power to minimize this claim and avoid paying full compensation. They will hire or use company lawyers to aggressively fight your claim. These types of claims are complicated and can be lost on technical or procedural violations. It is essential for this family to hire an attorney who has a reputation of experience and success in handling wrongful death claims.
What is a Wrongful Death? Allow us to answer some of your questions: http://www.robinettelaw.com/Articles/Wrongful-Death-Claims-in-West-Virginia.shtml.
This is the second death at the Harrison Power Station in less than two years. Employee Ned Johnson of Rivesville died at the facility in September 2011 when he was pinned between a machine and a guardrail. FirstEnergy was found by OSHA to be at fault for Mr. Johnson’s death.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions. You can also find Jeffery Robinette on Google+.