OSHA proposes $7,000 fine in Mo. AT&T worker death

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By BILL DRAPER
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) – Federal regulators have proposed a fine against AT&T for not adequately protecting its employees after a long-time technician was killed while on a service call last fall.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week proposed a $7,000 fine in relation to the Sept. 19 slaying of 58-year-old Kevin Mashburn in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone.
Mashburn, an AT&T technician for 41 years, was clubbed in the head with a crowbar outside his vehicle during an overnight shift. He managed to pull himself into his service truck and radio for help after he was struck, but emergency responders didn’t find him until nearly an hour later.
He was found unconscious in his vehicle and transported to an area hospital, where he died.
In the citation, OSHA said AT&T failed to ensure its workers have a means of continuous communication to summon help when needed. The agency suggested the company install panic buttons in vehicles that would send a signal to emergency responders.
“Approximately 19 minutes elapsed between time of injury and the moment someone became aware the employee was attempting to summon emergency assistance and 50 minutes before emergency assistance was able to locate the injured employee; the employee died of his injury,” OSHA said.
AT&T issued a statement saying OSHA ignored the fact that Mashburn had several devices available to communicate his situation, which he did.
AT&T has 15 days from when it received OSHA’s citation, which was Feb. 27, to let authorities know if it plans to contest it. A spokesman for AT&T said it’s likely the citation will be challenged.
Bryan J. Middlemas, 35, an ex-convict from Kansas City, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and armed criminal action. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court late next week in Clay County for a change-of-venue hearing.
If convicted, Middlemas could face up to two life sentences or the death penalty.