Things aren’t going well for FirstEnergy, or its workers, these days at the Harrison Power Station. Wednesday morning, an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors was killed at the plant.
Pam Kasey has the story over at Grounded. Contrast Pam’s account with the story put out yesterday by the AP. Apparently, the AP “reporter” just xeroxed the FirstEnergy press release, which referred to the dead worker as a “contractor.” No, he/she was not a “contractor.” He/she was an employee of a contractor. There is a big difference. Thank you, Pam, for practicing journalism when others can’t or won’t. Pam has an update here with a little more information and the identity of the worker who died.
So problems are piling up at the obsolete power plant. In a labor dispute with the Utility Workers of America Local 304, FirstEnergy was guilty of unfair labor practices. The plant’s capacity factor, the amount of time it actually sells electricity, has been declining for years because its expensive coal-fired power can’t compete in PJM Interconnection. And now, apparently, a failure in the company’s safety practices has resulted in the death of a worker at the plant. And to top it all off, Wall Street investment banks are breathing down FirstEnergy’s neck to force the company to sell the Harrison plant to raise needed cash.
Clearly, there is something wrong with the management of this company. WV rate payers should not be bailing out FirstEnergy’s disaster by “buying” the Harrison Power Station.
An Allegheny Energy employee was killed at the Harrison Power Station less than two years ago, on September 18, 2011. Ken Ward reported on the death, along with the fact that OSHA had been ignoring the plant since 2000, when the Cheney administration weakened OSHA inspections.
Harrison County power plant where a worker died on Sunday had not been inspected by federal workplace safety officials for more than a decade, U.S. Department of Labor officials confirmed Monday.
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. The program has been criticized by congressional auditors and by workplace safety advocates.
Ned Johnson, 63, of Rivesville, was killed shortly before noon at the plant near Haywood, north of Clarksburg. Johnson, an operations technician, was a 25-year-veteran of Allegheny Power. He is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.
Johnson was working in a plant tunnel where coal is transported by conveyor belt, when he somehow became pinned between a piece of machinery and a guardrail, said Leni Uddyback-Fortson, labor department spokeswoman.