Explosion at Sugar Factory Injures 4 Workers

Nampa, ID- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating an explosion that occurred last month at Amalgamated Sugar as an open case. 

Jessica Anderson, an Amalgamated Sugar spokeswoman, stated that the explosion occurred in the morning in a sugar beet pulp steam dryer. The cause of the explosion remains unidentified, and the damage reported to the factory is regarded as minimal. 

Anderson said that none of the injuries were life-threatening; four were treated with first aid, one worker, William McMilian, was taken to a local hospital for injuries and further examination. McMillian suffered second degree burns on his head and on his back, as well as third degree burns on his arm that possibly will require a skin graft. 

The employees were wearing appropriate fire protection gear, according to Anderson, though McMillian said that the protective gear did not stop the injuries from occurring.

“We are still investigating the situation, and will release more details as they become available,” Anderson told the Idaho Press.

This is not the first accident occurring at Amalgamated Sugar’s Nampa facility; over the past 35 years, four people have died at the factory. The most recent death happened in 2009 with the death of worker Mario Munoz, 45, whose body was discovered in an auger. The company ultimately paid $18,900 in fines in an OSHA settlement in the case of this 2009 death. 

Sourced from KTVB and IdahoPress

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Arc Flash Incident at Tennessee Nuclear Plant

Two contractors working near a 6.9kV electrical bus were injured in an arc flash incident on March 16th at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy, TN, northeast of Chattanooga.

TVA, Nuclear plant, Arc Flash

According to an event notification report from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) posted Monday, the two contractors were transported to a medical facility for treatment. “The cause of the arc flash is not understood at this time, an accident investigation has been initiated by TVA,” the report said.

The two injured contractors sustained first and second-degree burns. Both are employees of Day & Zimmerman, an engineering, construction and security firm based in Philadelphia. TVA told television station WRCB that it has suspended similar work activities until the cause is understood.

Neither of the workers were shocked or contaminated by radiation in the incident. The TVA’s two nuclear reactors at the site, Sequoyah Unit 1 and Unit 2, remain at 100 percent power, the NRC said.

When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash which include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.

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TN Lineman Recovering from Arc Flash

Dickson, TN – On August 25, Dickson Electric Systems substation supervisor Zach Spicer suffered second-degree burns to his face and neck in an arc flash incident at the DES Old White Bluff Substation.

According to the victim’s sister-in-law, Spicer “was accessing a breaker cabinet, high voltage side when contact or an arc formed, causing an electrical fault that released heat and energy…He remembers stammering around and seeing everyone’s expression looking at him.”

Two days after the burns, doctors determined that Spicer had not lost his eyesight and during the skin graft surgery they were able to not only save his right hand, but also his fingertips.

Spicer remains at the Vanderbilt Medical Center Burn Unit where he has undergone three surgeries and numerous procedures.

A second Dickson Electric Systems employee also suffered severe barc flashurns to his face and neck in the incident. He was released the evening of the accident and is recovering at home.

An Arc Flash is an electrical explosion caused by a fault condition or short circuit when either a phase to ground or phase to phase conductor is connected and current flows through the air. Arc flashes cause electrical equipment to explode, resulting in injury or death to workers and destruction of electrical equipment.

Temperatures can exceed 35,000° F. For reference, the surface of the sun is 9000° F. These extreme temperatures rapid heat and expand surrounding air – the extreme change in pressure is known as an arc blast. The arc flash and blast will likely vaporize all solid copper conductors. These conductors expand up to 67,000 times their original volume when vaporized. The arc flash and blast produce fire, intense light, pressure waves, and flying shrapnel.

When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash which include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.

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NZ Electrical Worker Survives Arc Flash Accident

Wellington, New Zealand – An electric utility worker in New Zealand has been awarded more than $85,000 in compensation after suffering serious burns in an electrical arc flash while working at a Wellington substation in 2014. The heat of the arc flash was so severe that the man’s pants melted on his legs.

The electrical accident occurred when two Northpower employees were performing maintenance work on roadside transformers. A bracket fell onto live contacts, causing an electrical short and arc flash. In court, the injured man testified that he had pulled a transformer off a panel, and was then hit by the arc flash and flames.

The electrician, who was 20 when the accident occurred, described the pain, trauma and ongoing effects of the incident in court last week. “I pulled the transformer off the panel and all I could hear was myself arc flash accidentscreaming and the flames and the arc flash,” he told Wellington District Court on Thursday. “All I could feel was intense heat and there was me, running for my life.”

An Arc Flash is an electrical explosion due to a fault condition or short circuit when either a phase to ground or phase to phase conductor is connected and current flows through the air. Temperatures may exceed 35,000° F. For reference, the surface of the sun is 9000° F.

These high temperatures cause rapid heating of surrounding air and extreme pressures, resulting in an arc blast. The arc flash will likely vaporize all solid copper conductors which will expand up to 67,000 times their original volume when vaporized. An arc flash produces fire, intense light, pressure waves, and flying shrapnel any of which can cause electrical equipment to explode, resulting in injury or death to workers and destruction of electrical equipment.

When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash which include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.

The court ruled that Wellington Electricity and Northpower failed to provide clear instructions to prompt workers to stop if they encountered increased risks or conditions; was responsible for not shutting off the power before work was undertaken; and for not documenting hazard assessments. The 2014 incident led to immediate changes in Northpower’s work practices, including a new approach to planning and risk assessment.

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Faulty PPE Cited in Death of WI Shipyard Worker

Superior, WI – A boilermaker employed at the Fraser Shipyards on Lake Superior has died two months after suffering severe burns on the job. Joseph Burch worked at the Fraser Shipyards for 22 years and was injured in February. Burch never recovered and lost his life due to the burns he sustained. The incident that has generated new citations from federal OSHA regulators for faulty personal protective equipment.

OSHA has issued two citations for serious violations in allegedly allowing holes and frayed fabric in protective clothing worn while performing hot work, and allegedly allowing employees to work without wearing fire retardant jackets and coveralls while using a hand-held torch. Fraser Shipyards faces $12,548 in potential fines.

OSHA says faulty personal protective equipmentemployees were not adequately protected from molten metal, sparks, fire or flame. The agency says at least one of the violations was corrected during their inspection.

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5 Maintenance Workers Hospitalized after Arc Flash Explosion

Queensland, Australia – Three maintenance workers fixing a power board sustained third-degree burns after an electrical explosion at the JBS processing plant in Ipswich, Queensland (Australia). Two other employees were hospitalized for smoke inhalation related to the accident.

The injuries were likely the result of an arc flash. The maintenance workers suffered severe burns on their upper bodies, faces, and hands.

An arc flash is an electrical explosion due to a fault condition or shortmaintenance workers circuit when either a phase to ground or phase to phase conductor is connected and current flows through the air. Arc flashes cause electrical equipment to explode, resulting in injury or death to workers and destruction of electrical equipment.

Temperatures may exceed 35,000° F (the surface of the sun is 9000° F). These high temperatures cause rapid heating of surrounding air and extreme pressures, resulting in an arc blast. Such a blast can vaporize all solid copper conductors. When vaporized, these conductors expand up to 67,000 times original volume. As a result, an arc flash  and arc blast produces fire, intense light, pressure waves, and flying shrapnel.

When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or evne death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash. These measures include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.

The JBS facility is the largest beef plant in the southern hemisphere, with a daily production of 3,350 head per day. JBS in Ipswich employs about 2,000 making it the largest employer in that region.

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Arc Flash Fire Injures AZ Bowling Alley Worker

Prescott, AZ – A worker was replacing blanks when an electrical arc occurred at a bowling alley in Prescott, AZ. Fire officials found evidence of a catastrophic failure in an electrical panel the employee had been servicing.electrical arc

The electrical arc propagated a flame and destroyed the front of the breaker panel, starting a fire. The employee was able to recover from the arc explosion and grabbed a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. He suffered burns to his hand, as well as singed facial hair, and was transported to a local hospital.

Fire department officials reported that the fire was extinguished and had not extended from the breaker panel. Responders shut down all power to the building until an evaluation and repair of the electrical system could be accomplished.

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Arc Flash at a Washington Dam Sends 5 to Hospital

Mattawa, WA – Five electricians and dam operators were hospitalized last week in an arc flash accident at the Priest Rapids Dam located on the Columbia River in central Washington state, bordering Yakima and Grant counties. Six workers total were injured as a result of an electrical equipment malfunction which caused an explosion at the hydroelectric dam.

The Grant County Public Utility District said that the explosarc flash hydroelectricion happened in the dam’s powerhouse. Two dam workers were treated in intensive care with “large burns,” the other three suffered slightly less severe burns. The five men were airlifted to Seattle following the explosion at the hydropower dam.

Pacific Northwest National Lab’s chief electrical engineer Jeff Dagle explained an arc flash results from a short circuit involving high-voltage electricity. Circuit breakers are designed to minimize arc flash and a failure with those may now be a focus of the accident investigation.

The PUD said damage from the explosion was limited to one generating unit. The rest of Priest Rapids Dam continues to operate and no threat is anticipated to downstream communities.

The Priest Rapids Dam was built in the 1950s and is one of two operated by the Grant PUD along the Columbia River. The publicly-owned utility serves about 46,000 customers in Grant County, which is about 150 miles east of Seattle. The concrete dam is 178 feet high and more than 10,000 feet long

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Arc Flash Explosion Injures 3 in West Virginia

Alloy, WV – Three workers have been hospitalized after an arc flash explosion at the West Virginia Alloy Plant, outside of Montgomery, WV. Two had flash arc burns to their hands, and one suffered burns to the face.

The employees were in the basement of an aluminum-sided building when they struck a power source. Sources said the men suffered from arc flash burns. According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, “the intense heat and light emitted from an arc flash can cause severe burns, destroying skin and tissue. An arc flash can ignite or melt clothing, resulting in further burns. Victims sometimes require skin grafts or amputations. Death is more likely with increased severity of burns, the percent of body area affected and age.”

Although the plant is not commenting right now on what caused the accident, Captain Jim Sizemore with the Fayette County Sheriffs Department is stating that electrical transformers at the plant blew.

The West Virginia alloy plant, in Alloy, West Virginia produces silican. According to the company’s website they are one of the world’s largest producers of silicon metal, silicon-based specialty alloys and silicon fume — critical ingredients in a host of industrial and consumer products with growing markets.

 

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