Man electrocuted at PriceSmart dies
JPS alleges company expanded building too close to power lines
An undated photograph of Jevaughn Smith, who was electrocuted on March 13.

An expansion to the PriceSmart building on Red Hills Road in St Andrew, which allegedly brought the structure too close to power lines, is being fingered by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) as the cause for the electrocution of a maintenance worker on March 13 who later died at hospital.

Dead is 19-year-old maintenance worker Jevaughn Smith.

According to Winsome Callum, director of communications at JPS, investigations confirmed that the expanded structure is in breach of the established standard. Callum said buildings are required to be a minimum of 10 feet away from power lines.

She took the opportunity to express sympathy for Smith's passing and to remind the public that power lines must be avoided.

"It appears that the PriceSmart maintenance worker who was carrying out duties on the roof of the building came too close to the line and was electrocuted. Following the incident, JPS was contacted by PriceSmart with a request for the power line to be relocated. The company will make every effort to have this done as quickly as possible. Mr Smith's tragic death is most unfortunate. It is a reminder to construction personnel to keep buildings away from power lines, and to the general public to stay far from power lines," Callum said.

In response to questions from the Jamaica Observer, PriceSmart said on Wednesday that the matter "is under full investigation to fully understand the circumstances of this unfortunate incident".

According to Price Smart, on March 13 at approximately 7:50 am, an employee of a contractor hired by Price Smart was injured while working on roof maintenance.

"Safety is always a top priority at every PriceSmart club, and all employees are properly trained regularly and updated on safety equipment policies and procedures; therefore, according to the safety protocol, emergency personnel were contacted immediately. Still, despite all the efforts made, the contractor unfortunately passed away on March 17. PriceSmart will endeavor to interact with all relevant authorities, the contractor's employer, and the insurance carrier to appropriately provide for his family. A sincere condolences message goes out to his family," Price Smart said.

March 13 was shaping up to be a normal day on the job for Smith, but instead it turned deadly for the expectant father.

Subsequent to the electrocution, he fought a hard battle to remain alive, but eventually succumbed to his injuries. He was said to have sustained third-degree burns.

A distraught cousin of Smith, told the Observer that she was frustrated by what she said was a lack of information on what actually transpired.

"When I went to the workplace they said I wasn't able to take any pictures because they had to do their internal investigation into what happened. He went to work the Monday and after working he went where they wash off the building top and while there he got electrocuted and fell from the building.

"I was told that JPS did their investigation on the day. The workplace is saying they are not able to provide me with any information and that I have to speak directly to the person that contracted him. The doctors said he sustained maximum level burns, which would be third degree. I am not doing too well," she told the Observer.

The cousin described Smith, who lived on Donmair Avenue, off Red Hills Road, as honourable, loving, jovial, a people person, who at times was quiet, loved music and hanging out with friends.

She alleged that after her cousin was electrocuted, it was the family's responsibility to pay for an ambulance to take him to hospital.

"When we went there the Monday, we had to get our own private ambulance and pay for it because I was told that none was available. At the hospital, they said the CT scan was good but there was a possibility he would lose all his toes. He was talking and everything and they advised me that they were giving him fluids to protect his kidneys. They said there was air in his brain. But then, his pulse and blood pressure started to drop," she said.

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