OSHA fines NV Energy $43,000 in man's death

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined NV Energy for a workplace accident that took an employee’s life.

OSHA has fined the local power utility $43,000 in the Sept. 25 death of lineman Herbie Dempsey Goforth III. Goforth, 29, fell 100 feet from a utility tower near Apex Industrial Park, about 20 miles north of Las Vegas, during a training exercise.

OSHA opened its investigation Sept. 28. On Thursday, it issued citations for six violations, including failure to provide properly fitting conductive booties to protect workers from electrical shock; failure to ensure employees did not use defective or damaged gloves, booties and other gear; failure to offer and require employees to use legally required fall-arrest equipment; and failure to make sure ladders and platforms were used for proper purposes.

Each violation carries a $7,000 fine. A seventh violation, for not providing government representatives with specific records within four business hours of a request, brought a $1,000 levy.

OSHA also ordered the company to fix all violations by April 15.

The NV Energy violations were classified as “serious,” which means there was a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from conditions, practices, methods or processes on site.

It is a lesser finding than willful violations, in which employers demonstrate “intentional disregard” for safety laws or “a plain indifference to employee safety or health.” Willful violations carry fines of as much as $70,000 each.

The agency also did not classify the violations as a repeat occurrence within the past five years.

Company officials said in a statement that they are studying the citations .

“We are now in receipt of the OSHA findings associated with the tragic loss of one of our employees last fall. The company is currently reviewing the details to determine our next steps. Because our business can be a dangerous one, the most important thing to us as a company is the continued safety of our employees. All of our training exercises for this type of work continue to be within industry standards. We are committed to remain a leader in safe work practices and diligent adherence to federal and state requirements regarding the safety of our employees,” the statement read.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@ reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.