Worker Killed at West Virginia Power Station | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What happened:

A 57 year old Friendly, West Virginia man was killed in an accident at FirstEnergy’s Harrison power station, located near Clarksburg. David Bergman, an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors of Pittsburgh, was removing insulation from ductwork in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance outage when he fell through and into the ductwork.

According to a statement issued by an attorney from Utility Workers Union of America, Burnham contractors had finished up work in the area the accident occured in and had moved onto another area. The victim went back to retrieve some tools and fell through a weak spot in the ductwork. He was found by another Burnham employee. The attorney also said he was told that the temperature inside the ductwork, when operating, approaches 300 degrees, however, he did not know if it is standard practice to perform work on ductwork while the system is in operation.

A statement issued by the power plant’s director said scaffold planks on the duct structure beams were being used throughout the job to prevent any direct contact with the duct plating and that it was unclear as to how the victim came into direct contact with the ducts.  

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident.


The Virginia Injury Lawyer Perspective:   

The victim in this tragic accident leaves behind a wife, four children and 11 grandchildren. According to news reports, this is the second death at this facility in less than two years. In September, 2011, a long-time employee died when he was pinned between a machine and a guardrail. And in August 2012, two contract employees were airlifted to the hospital after they suffered burns while working at the power plant.

Although nothing makes up for the loss of a loved one, Mr. Bergman’s family should consult with a Virginia wrongful death attorney to find out what civil liability both the power plant and the contracting company may have for his death. Our wrongful death law firm has successfully represented many victims’ families in securing damages for the loss of their loved one, and work diligently to ensure justice for our clients.   


FirstEnergy’s Harrison power plant, Clarskburg, WV

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Helpful Info:

Our firm published a guide on the wrongful death claims process in Virginia. Read it here.


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