Local 176 Electrician Recovers $1.3 Million When Injured While Pushing Cable ($1.3 Million)

A journeyman electrician from IBEW Local 176 recovered a $1.3 million settlement after suffering permanent bilateral wrist injuries resulting from a work-related accident.

The Case

The IBEW Local 176 Electrician was injured when an out of state and nonunion general contractor permitted an unorthodox and out of practice technique while building wind towers in western Illinois

In-Depth Look

The electrician suffered permanent bilateral wrist injuries, a result of the general contractor, which utilized methods of installing wire in conduit that was contrary to accepted customs/practices and jobsite specifications.

The union electrician was working for a subcontractor, Infrasource, which had been working the job for two weeks prior to the accident. Blattner, the general contractor for the project, was present every day exercising control of the job-site.

The general contractor put the group through safety training before they came onto the job; however, it was clear that once the process was started they were not supplied with the necessary equipment to safely and properly complete the job task.

The electrician was injured while working with heavy cables. He was supposed to be pulling the cable, as mandated by specification, custom, and practice; however, the general contractor and employer did not provide the necessary equipment to do so and instead had the plaintiff push the cables.

“Pushing heavy cables up a vertical 90-degree conduit takes hundreds of pounds of force and eventually led to his wrists giving out,” stated lead trial attorney, Clifford Horwitz. He continued, “The job-site specifications called for the cable to be pulled and mechanical means to pull the cable should have been used. However, the electricians were left with no means to pull the cable so they were forced to push it.”

The defendant argued that the electrician, while he complained of pain, did not seek treatment until a couple of months after the accident and therefore, was not injured as claimed. Further, the defendant argued that pushing is unsafe. The general contractor argued that the term “pull” and “pulling” as used in the specification actually meant “push”. However, the owner who hired the general contractor testified clearly that “pull” meant “pull” and the contract should have been complied with.