First Energy Found to be at Fault in Death of Employee

In September of 2011, 63-year-old Rivesville man was killed in a workplace accident at the FirstEnergy Harrison Power Station near Lumberport.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruled the plant’s owner, First Energy, is at fault in the death of one of its employees.

OSHA ruled he died by getting crushed between a moving platform of a Rotary Plow Feeder and a standing guardrail. According to OSHA’s report, First Energy allowed employees to work in an environment where the equipment could cause several fatal injuries.

Officials said First Energy contested the ruling and is now pursuing a settlement with OSHA. (

A bulk handling operations technician was trapped between a piece of machinery and a guardrail in the coal handling area near 12:30 p.m.  Ned Johnson had worked for FirstEnergy for twenty-five years and for the Harrison Power Station for two years.  This area was closed by the company after the accident.

Although at least three other FirstEnergy employees in Ohio and Pennsylvania have been killed on the job in the last six months, FirstEnergy’s Harrison Power Station is part of a labor department program meant to allow work sites with good safety records to avoid routine Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections.  This program has been criticized by workplace safety advocates and congressional auditors.  The Harrison Power Station has not been inspected for more than a decade according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Harrison Power Plant was last inspected in July of 2000 and cited with two minor violations.

Operators of heavy construction and industrial equipment face some of the most dangerous work conditions in America. When a piece of equipment fails, bringing a machine that can weigh multiple tons or more to an emergency stop is often impossible. Operators behind the wheel or working near the equipment are at the mercy of unstoppable mass and energy.

For more information about workplace accidents  please visit us at or call 304-594-1800

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