Arc Flash Incident at Republic Steel Results in OSHA Fines

Blasdell, NY – Republic Steel faces $147,000 in fines after one of its workers suffered serious burns on the job. An employee of Republic Steel in Blasdell, NY was removing wiring from a fan motor in an overhead crane last October when an ungrounded electrical conductor touched a grounded surface causing an arc flash. The electric technician received third-degree burns on her hand and first-degree burns on her face as a result.

An investigation by the Buffalo area office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that Republic Steel failed to provide and ensure the use of effective face and hand protection by its employees. “These injuries were avoidable”, said Michael Scime, OSHA’s area director. “Republic Steel has a responsibility to make sure that its electric technicians are properly trained, equipped with and using person protective equipment to protect from arc flash. In this case, that would include a face shield and rubber insulating gloves. The company should be especially aware of this, since OSHA cited Republic Steel earlier in 2014 for similar hazards at its Lorain, Ohio facility.”

OSHA cited Republic Steel for two repeat violations, each with proposed fines of $70,000 for the lack of hand and face protection. The company was also cited for one serious violation with a $7,000 fine for failing to protect employees against contact with energized electrical equipment.

Republic Steel disagrees with OSHA’s findings and has contested the citations in their entirety.

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