Kentucky Power fined for tree trimmer death
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Power Co. has paid a $2,500 fine to the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) for a safety violation contributing to the July 2015 death of a tree trimmer working to clear vegetation from the utility’s lines in Greenup County.
In an order issued Thursday, the PSC closed the case.
The fatal accident occurred on July 9, 2015, when Tony Craig, an employee of Kentucky Power contractor Asplundh Tree Service, pulled a pine limb that he was cutting onto a 7,200-volt line. Current from the line followed the limb to Craig’s hand, killing him.
Craig was not wearing required protective equipment, such as heavy rubber gloves, that would have insulated him from the electricity.
In an order issued May 31, 2017, the PSC stated that the failure to wear the protective gear, which was available, constituted a violation of a safety regulation that sets certain requirements for working in close proximity to live wires.
The fine of $2,500 is the maximum amount allowed under Kentucky law for a single violation. For purposes of enforcing PSC safety regulations, utilities are responsible for the actions of their contractors.
Kentucky Power serves about 169,000 customers in 20 counties in eastern Kentucky.
Thursday’s order and other records in the case are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2017-00196.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 70 employees.