A National Grid worker this week died of injuries he sustained when he was struck last month by an SUV while on the job, one of the types of accidents that occupational safety advocates say are both all too common and often preventable.
Paul Germano, 50, of Dudley succumbed to injuries he sustained on July 31, Spencer police said. The accident remains under investigation by police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Paul, yet another person who went to work like any other day and never came back home,” said Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. “We know that working around vehicles is very dangerous, and we implore all employers to take the time to create as safe a work site as they possibly can to protect the lives of those who work for them.”
At the time of the accident, there was no work zone set up, no cones and no signs, and there was no police detail present, according to MassCOSH. National Grid would not say whether it requires such precautions.
“Paul Germano worked for National Grid for more than 13 years, supporting damage prevention within our Massachusetts gas team. His loss is being felt by those who were fortunate enough to work with him, and by the entire National Grid community,” Christine Milligan, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Our thoughts continue to be with Paul’s family and friends at this heartbreaking time. Beyond that, we won’t be commenting on an active accident investigation, which is being led by local police.”
Germano was in the eastbound lane on Main Street in Spencer, marking underground piping for an upcoming construction project, when he was struck by a 2015 Nissan driven by Madeline Polselli, 70, of North Brookfield, police said. Both the victim’s family and Polselli declined to comment Friday.
Germano is the third worker killed by a moving vehicle in 2019, according to MassCOSH. Six workers have died so far this year in transportation-related incidents, and 17 died last year, accounting for 29% of worker deaths, making such accidents the leading cause of death from dangerous work, the group said.
Information on how to properly protect workers like Germano can be found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is published by the Federal Highway Administration.
The manual suggests that appropriately colored or marked vehicles with high-intensity, rotating, flashing, oscillating, or strobe lighting be used in place of signs to alert drivers that short-term work is being done on the road. The manual also suggests that work vehicles be augmented with signs or arrow panels to alert passing drivers.