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Painter shocked by electrical line dies

OSHA: 50-year-old man's head came in contact with power line

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A painter was hospitalized after he was shocked Thursday while working near electrical lines on McCoys Creek Boulevard has died.

Anthony Smith, 50, was airlifted to the UF Health Burn Unit in Gainesville, where he died on Sunday.

A representative for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the man was in a bucket truck, preparing to a paint a building, when his head came in contact with a power line. 

The painter had been too close to the power line and the standard rule is to be 10 feet away, said Brian Sturtecky, area director of the Jacksonville-area OSHA office.

"The basket is literally a couple (of) feet away from the power line. He contacted the power line with the top of his head, resulting with that current going through the man (and the) basket and ending out the back left rear tire (of the truck)," Sturtecky said.

The man works for Washington Painting Service of Jacksonville, which was contracted by NCS Properties, the owner of the building, according to OSHA. 

The building was being leased by W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor Inc., Sturtecky said.  

"We are investigating the incident at this time," W.W. Gay risk manager Ed Lewis said in a statement. "We are not able to provide any further information."

According to OSHA safety records dating back 10 years, Washington Painting Service was cited for hazard communication during a planned inspection in 2009. The business addressed OSHA's concerns, and there was no fine, records showed.

Sturtecky said 28 people have died as a result of similar safety violations this year. 

"Power lines are a serious matter, and employees tend to get complacent when they are working in and around them because they don't tend to see a visible hazard right away. However, that hazard never goes away," Sturtecky said. 

JEA crews were called to the scene to check the integrity of the power line. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was also on site to investigate.

Sunbelt Rentals, the owner of the basket, OSHA and JEA are all conducting separate investigations of the incident.