Palo Alto Utilities employee dies after workplace accident Saturday

Employee was replacing transformer when incident occurred, according to the city

UPDATE: The city of Palo Alto has identified the Utilities employee who died in a workplace accident on Saturday as Donatus Okhomina. Read our latest story here.


A city of Palo Alto Utilities Department employee died on Saturday morning from injuries that he suffered while upgrading an electrical transformer in south Palo Alto, according to the city.

The employee, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family, was part of a five-member crew that was upgrading an electrical transformer near East Meadow Drive and Middlefield Road at about 9:47 a.m., according to the city.

After suffering an injury, the man was transferred to a local hospital by the Palo Alto Fire Department. He later died from the injuries at the hospital, according to the news release.

The city crew was upgrading the transformer at the request of a customer, the Covenant Presbyterian Church, which is located at 670 E. Meadow Drive.

The city has notified the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is reviewing the incident with the city's assistance. This is the first work-involved death that a Utilities Department has experienced in more than 30 years, according to the city.

City Manager Ed Shikada issued a statement Saturday evening saying the entire city family is "saddened by the tragic loss of one of our own."

"Our condolences are with the family of our employee during this extremely difficult time," Shikada said in a statement. "This is a sad reminder of the risks involved in the critical functions that our Utilities employees perform daily."

The Fire Department Honor Guard was posted at the hospital to pay tribute to the employee, according to the city's news release.


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Like this comment
Posted by TJ
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 16, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Another local publication says a lineman was electrocuted while up in a utility truck bucket.

11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2019 at 1:07 am

This is terrible. Thank you to all the utility crew who do such dangerous and essential work for the community.

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 17, 2019 at 7:03 am

All the residents that demand that services go underground, might want to think about the real price. Bummer.


12 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2019 at 8:49 am

“... might want to think about the real price.”

Are underground wires more dangerous to work on than those on top of poles? I would have expected the opposite.

In any event, we should all pause to appreciate those who do dirty, dangerous jobs around us, often for little thanks. Slow down and give them safe passage when you pass them on the road.

Like this comment
Posted by wmconlon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2019 at 10:32 am

wmconlon is a registered user.

@Family Friendly. Underground introduces confined space hazards

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