Lawsuit filed in connection to electrocution death at Bull Run

The family of a man who was electrocuted after falling onto a piece of equipment at the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton last year is suing TVA and one of its contractors over his death, alleging negligence.

29-year-old Seth Black was employed by Williams Specialty Services when he was killed last September. He was putting insulation on top of equipment called a precipitator insulator when OSHA says he fell five feet through the top of a metal electrical equipment compartment and made contact with the energized electrical equipment inside, resulting in his death.

OSHA investigated the accident and in March of this year, issued its findings, fining both Williams Specialty and GUBMK Constructors, and giving TVA a “serious notice of unsafe or unhealthy working conditions,”but not fining the utility.

OSHA said in March that it had found that Williams Specialty Services, GUBMK Constructors, and TVA exposed workers to “fall and electrocution hazards by not determining if the walking and working surfaces employees were working from had the strength and structural integrity to support them safely.”

The agency also found Williams Specialty “failed to provide safe access to elevated platforms; and failed to initiate and maintain programs that provide frequent and regular inspections by a competent person of the job site and equipment.”

Contractor William Specialty Services LLC received a citation for one “willful” and two “serious” violations, with a proposed total penalty of $152,900. The “willful” violation was for allegedly failing to determine whether the surfaces were strong enough, while the “serious” violations were failing to have regular inspections and failing to provide a stairway or ladder, according to OSHA.

GUBMK Constructors received a citation for one “serious” violation of failing to make sure the surfaces on which workers walked could support them. The proposed penalty is $14,502. GUBMK provides maintenance and construction support under contract for the TVA.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of TVA and also names GUBMK Constructors as a defendant. Williams Specialty was not named in the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial and $5 million in damages.

TVA is scheduled to retire Bull Run by the end of 2023.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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