OSHA fines AT&T in death of worker after Gladstone attack

Federal officials have cited AT&T in the death of a worker last year in Gladstone and proposed a $7,000 penalty against the company.

The citation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleges AT&T failed to ensure that Kevin Mashburn had a way to readily summon assistance after he was assaulted during a robbery while working in the field last September.

According to OSHA: “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.”

AT&T indicated it would contest the citation. It has 15 working days to file such a notice.

“OSHA’s allegations are at odds with the facts and it’s unfortunate that OSHA ignored the fact that Mr. Mashburn had multiple devices by which he could communicate his situation and, contrary to the citation, he in fact did so,” the company said in a written statement. “We’re committed to the safety of our employees and provide our technicians with extensive safety training and capabilities, including cellphones and laptops, to contact police, the company or other first responders in an emergency.”

Mashburn, 58, was struck on the head with a blunt object during a robbery attempt and died later at a hospital. A suspect later was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

“Kevin Mashburn was a dedicated employee for more than 40 years and our hearts continue to go out to his family, friends and co-workers,” the company said in its statement.

In its citation, OSHA suggested that “panic buttons” could be installed in work vehicles to signal emergency responders. It also suggested mounting telephones in vehicles for emergencies.