Safety and OSHA News

Proof that even changing a light bulb can be deadly

Cal-OSHA is looking into a fatality involving a 19-year-old gas station employee.

Daly City, CA, police say Moustafa Algazawy was changing a light bulb above some storage lockers when he fell.

He stood on top of a metal cage that stores propane tanks to change the bulb.

He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

An autopsy will determine whether Algazawy died from electrocution or the fall.

A manager who saw the employee fall suffered a heart attack. Cal-OSHA says the manager had a “severe grief reaction” after witnessing the worker’s death.

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  1. Gov’t should classify light bulbs as WMDs. Ship them overseas to aid in the war against terrorism. Appearently they are effective. 1 Bulb = 1 kill and 1 collateral damage. Darwin Award.

    Disclaimer…yes the above comment is insensitive and politically incorrect. No animals were harmed durring the posting of said comment. Grumblings noted and logged.

  2. sounds to me like dude pushed him causeing him to fall/get electricuted and fact a heart attack knowing he was screwed

  3. I just can’t believe the responses from people who actually receive ths e-mail.

    It seems as though this very unfortunate accident could have easily been avoided.
    First the employee should have shut off the electricity to the source and he should have used a secure ladder. You should never ever climb onto a non secure surface for any reason. It sounds like the individual was more than likely electrocuted and that it was not the fall that killed him. How sad for the other individual that had a heart attack from witnessing this event. I am thinking this company really needs to put together some safety policies and closely monitor that they are being followed. What a double whammy!

  4. roy roberts says:

    I agree there was no job hazard analysis , no training and now the follow up by the company as to the safety procedures needed to insure that something like this doesn’t happen needs to be enforced by the company and CAL/OSHA.

  5. I find it hard to have sympathy for someone who died from their own act of stupidity. Sticking his fingers in an energised light socket is a level of stupidity equal to someone placing their hands under a running lawnmower to find out if the blades are spinning. I feel sympathy for his family members who lost a loved one but he himself deserved a Darwin Award for his accident.

  6. To Spinner,

    Really???? .
    Did you read that this was a 19 year old kid? I am sure newly out of high school still very Naïve. He took a terrible short cut and probably did it thinking he was being resourceful.
    It is the employer’s RESPONSIBILITY to TEACH their employees the safest way to do things in each business.
    All of you fixated on the humor of the Darwin Awards sound like a bunch of idiots. If any of you are employed, I hope you have been taught to work safely by your employers because it would be unfortunate for something like this to happen to someone you know or even worse your own child. I am sure if that were the case you would not be so quick to mock the humor or stupidity of the Darwin’s and you would be in line with your attorney by your side ready to sue the employer for negligence.

  7. Aledra. No in fact i would not. What i would be is the first in line to point at myself and call me an idiot for doing something stupid.
    I am not fixated on the humor because it is not in fact funny. Stupid people doing stupid things causing their own stupid deaths is a reflection of people not taking responsibility for their own safety and their own lives.
    Evidently this 19 year old has never changed a light bulb in his life. How old does a person have to be before he stops and tinks before acting? By your opinion 19 is not old enough. You are the reason why we as a nation have things like RWA’s, JSA’s and PTW’s for simple things like mopping the floor and making pots of coffie.
    Companies can do many things to ecourage an atmosphere of safety but they can not train out stupid.

  8. Disappointed H/R says:

    How unprofessional you all sound! How absurd for you to make jokes and accusations based on a few sentences. WMD! How calous your thoughts are. Where did it say that this 19 year old put his finger in an energized light socket? I did not read that!

    It sounds to me like it was a very unfortunate “accident” . The article did not say how far he fell so we could be talking about a fatal head injury. Shame on you for being so callous and thoughtless. Thank goodness I work for a company that still cares about its employees and its fellowman.

    I pray that none of you ever have to call a parent, spouse or child and tell them there loved one just died while at work! And please if you do don’t tell them ” I find it hard to have sympathy because he died of his own stupidity! ” Shame on you for degrading the professionalism of Safety and H/R!

  9. Stephen V. Dalton says:

    It iT

    This man was someone’s son. I hope I never take the death of anyone lightly. I will use this at my Plant as a example of how easy it is to change lives forever in a moment of not assessing risk. I wonder how many of those making light, have dialed/talked on their cell while driving? I have worked 42 years in Manufacturing and have seen everything—twice. Don’t ever think you can’t be in similar situation as happened to this young man. I hope you live throught it. Meanwhile, be paranoid for Safety and watch out for those around you. Servant Leader

  10. Thanks Stephen. That’s why I post injury and fatality stories on Safety News Alert. If someone in charge of safety at a company finds something in an article that they can use to show employees the consequences of ignoring safety for just a moment, then it was worth posting the article.

  11. Robert says:

    It doen’t matter if the victim is 19 or 50, this was a process that was taken for granted. Everybody by the time they are 19 years old have changed a light bulb most likely. It was a simple function to change a light bulb so on one thought to have a training session with the new guy or give a briefing to him at his safety indoctrination because the process was taken for granted. This company is learning their error the hard way. This is something that bit them in the butt and could be an issue with most everyone here especially those making a joke out of the incident.

    People making jokes about the incident, if you are safety professionals you fail.

    “Safety IS NO JOKE”

  12. General Electric says:

    Its obvious the worker was never trained in ladder safety. However had the electric been turned off he was in the dark literally, likely improper illumination. Perhaps he wasn’t versed in LP safety and was missing information in haz-com as well. I’m sure an OSHA inspector is going to have a field day on this one. Time to whip the dead horse so to speak “MO”

  13. Paul Rotkis says:

    For the love of God, is a JHA/JSA really neccesaary for changing a light bulb? Absoulety not; it’s covered in ladder safety training, IF he was trained.

    The use of JHA’s often goes waaaaaaaaay out of what the intent and true purpose of what a JHA is for. This is one reason why workers shun or roll their eyes at Safety Professionals…

  14. Some of these comments need to be left in college class. Not on a website for professionals. There were some reasons for his death, no proper training to changing a light bulb, yes. or ladder safety taught by the manager. If he was a good manager he would have followed up with him to see if he is doing something safe. Changing a light bulb can be dangerous with the light on to anyone. Be professional please when commenting on these alerts. They are ment to bring attention to mistakes being made everyday.

  15. Really,
    This is exactly what I deal with every day. We can sure build a smarted video game self absorbed teen, but we cannot give them the skills needed to change a light bulb, SHAME ON US! And I mean US, each and every cultural diverse sector. I dont owe anyone anything and i’m tired of paying for everyones mistakes. Its about time I get to make my own mistakes and have someone else pay. Get your kids back to school, involved in technologically literate education and we will be a much happier, self sufficient, hands on, do it ouselves country as we use to be. Go to your school board meetings; express your concerns that your son cannot change a light bulb, add or check the oil level of the car, you daughter cannot mend, sew, or repair or replace a button, sorry for the gender roling but this has got to STOP. We have to be accountable for what we do not teach our youth as well as for what we do teach them. America, step up to the plate and get involved, all the way up the ladder, hell, I wouldn’t even getting this message to Obama, it needs to be voiced, soon!

  16. Paul Rotkis says:


    If you ran for president, I’d vote for you! Well said!

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