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Contractor fined $662K after Electrical Shock Injury

Fort St. John, British Colombia – Peace River Hydro Partners has been fined $662,102.48 by WorkSafeBC. The fine was imposed on August 21, 2019, after a worker sustained an electrical shock injury. A worker was able to access the main circuit breaker in a high-voltage electrical cabinet for tunneling equipment.

According to WorkSafeBC, the main electrical breaker extensions on the exterior cabinet door were not functioning, the de-energization switches had been circumvented and the main breaker switch-box isolation covers were in disrepair.Electrical worker operates on wires

WorkSafeBC staff also determined that it was a standard work practice at this site to access the main circuit breaker without following lockout procedures.

A stop-use order was issued for the tunneling equipment because Peace River Hydro Partners failed to ensure its equipment was capable of safely performing its functions, and was unable to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety.

WorkSafeBC says these were both repeated violations.

This is the largest fine WorkSafeBC can issue under B.C. legislation.  The report from WorkSafeBC did not disclose the condition of the worker or the exact date of the incident.

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3 Electrical Incidents in 24 hours in Ontario

Ontario, Canada- September 19th was Black Thursday in Ontario’s electrical sector with three separate incidents of workers contacting overhead wires causing two electrocution deaths and injuring two others.

The spate of mishaps left construction, electrical and health and safety stakeholders upset, frustrated and searching for answers.

“The Electrical Safety Authority is very saddened to hear any time there are incidents of an electrical nature,” said Dr. Joel Moody, the ESA’s chief public safety officer. “Our thoughts are with the families who have experienced loss.”

Two of the three involved construction work. The third, in Kawartha Lakes, was at a private home where workers trimming a hedge on an elevated work platform contacted a powerline. One worker died and the other was injured.

In Vaughan, a Ministry of Labour report said a worker employed by Pontil Drilling Services sustained fatal injuries when a drill boom made contact with overhead power lines.

In Scarborough, east Toronto, a worker for Darcon was injured when a tower crane hit an overhead powerline. The job site constructor is Paramount Structures.

“This is a stark reminder of the dangers of working near electricity and clearly shows there is a need for more to be done to keep workers safe,” said James Barry, executive chairman of the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario, in an online statement.

There have been 1,250 reported overhead powerline contacts in Ontario in the last 10 years with an average of two deaths per year, making the pair of fatalities on Sept. 19 a full year’s worth statistically. The ESA says construction workers are at especially high risk with 60 per cent of powerline contacts occurring with dump trucks on construction sites.

The ESA responded to the mishaps with a statement urging awareness of the specific hazards related to working near wires. It’s a message that echoes those of the ESA’s Powerline Safety Week awareness campaign that’s launched at the start of construction season each May in Canada.

The ESA also works with utilities, haulers and arborists on a regular basis, Moody said.

“We urge situational awareness with a hazard assessment being the first thing they should do,” he said. “Be aware of your surroundings.”

“All of these incidents are preventable. Electricity is very lethal and unforgiving and having safe work practices every day is very important.”

“For the most part, if you look at the utilities, they live and breathe health and safety,” Kelusky said. “These weren’t utility workers, the guys dealing with the live stuff, they deal with it with great respect and understanding. That is a cultural thing from top to bottom.”

Despite the incidents of Sept. 19, Kelusky said, the statistics show construction is getting safer and that the construction sector in the province is developing a more integrated safety culture.

Responding to the comment urging that more be done, Kelusky said a major focus of his office is linking the diverse efforts of the health and safety community. His office has recently pledged to work with Ontario’s Industrial Health and Safety Association to undertake more research to be able to provide stronger tools to employers.

The approach to falls across the province in the last decade is a good example of how research can lead to program development and working with employers and employees to deliver results, Kelusky explained.

“What we want to do is supply labor and employers with more information other than, if you touch that it will hurt you,” he said, referring to electrical hazards. “We did that with falls and touch wood that seems to be going well.”

Looking ahead, Kelusky said, there are positive signs from Queen’s Park with the auditor general conducting a much-needed review of health and safety programs, the government reviewing the WSIB and signals from the new Minister of Labor, Monte McNaughton, that he is keenly interested in health and safety and working collaboratively with stakeholders. That’s on top of the WSIB’s new Health and Safety Excellence Program and the continuing growth of COR.

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Risk Assessment Could Have Saved Worker’s Life

Singapore – MW Group faces a $200,000 fine resulting from a fatal workplace electrocution. Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has ruled that a professional Arc Flash Risk Assessment and safe work procedures could have prevented the 2013 fatal electrocution of a worker at the MW Group Pte Ltd’s Pantech Business Hub.

Following a five day trial, MW Group Pte Ltd was convicted for workplace safety and health lapses. The director of the local Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate stated that the employer knew that the technicians were exposed to the risk of electrocution, yet MW Group failed to provide workers with a step-by-step guide on how to do the job safely.

On the day of the electrocution, a MW Group employee was asked to test and calibrate the ARS machine. The worker held a high voltage probe to test the ARS from 2kV to 12kV and during the test he fell backwards and became unconscious. He died later that day, with the cause of death certified as electrocution.

MW Group, an equipment calibration and testing company, is being fined for failing to conduct a specific risk assessment and establish safe work procedures for the calibration and testing of an arc reflection system (ARS) machine. Safety investigations revealed that although MW Group had conducted a generic risk assessment for electrical testing prior to the accident and electrocution was identified as the only hazard, no control measures were put in place. The Energy Market Authority, in its investigations into the accident, concluded that no proper test fixtures were set up before the start of the high voltage calibration works. Additionally, it was determine that the worker did not maintain a safe working distance of approximately 1.5m from the “live” terminals.

The Ministry of Manpower stated that as the DC output voltage level of the ARS gradually increased, this difference between the worker’s body and the probe to test the ARS he was holding resulted in a flashover, or arc flash – a dangerous type of electrical explosion.

Singapore’s director of occupational safety and health inspectorate said that “The employer knew that the technicians were exposed to the risk of electrocution…yet failed to provide the technicians with a step-by-step guide on how to do the job safely.”

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Lockout Mistake Electrocutes Florida Worker

Auburndale, FL – A worker was electrocuted this week as a the result of a lockout mistake while attempting to fix a conveyor at Florida Caribbean Distillers.

Aaron Rowe, 33 years old, was reportedly attempting to fix a conveyor belt and had appeared to turn off the power. However, investigation has revealed that a wire connected to the motor was energized and the lockout/tagout system used to cut off power had been affixed to the wrong circuit breaker.

Lockout/Tagout refers to a system of that safety measures designed to properly shutdown machinery and ensure that those machines will not start up again during maintenance or servicing work. OSHA requires that each piece of equipment must have specific lockout procedures written just for it. The lockout procedurelockout mistakes provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source feeding that piece of equipment, which helps to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

OSHA requires that lockout programs be audited periodically, and on an annual basis at minimum. A lockout audit requires a review of equipment or machine specific lockout procedures to confirm that each procedure accurately reflects the equipment’s energy sources and to identify any deficiencies. Regular lockout audits and evaluations ensure both compliance and a safe work environment.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports that Rowe was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about an hour after being shocked. OSHA is investigating the incident.

Florida Caribbean Distillers produces rums, whiskeys and fruit liqueurs.

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Electrocution and Amputation Risks Net $77K in OSHA Fines for OH Metal Stamper

Pioneer, OH – After finding numerous electrical and machine safety hazards at NN Metal Stampings Inc, OSHA has fined the southwestern Ohio firm close to $80,000 for electrocution and amputation risks.

Fines have been proposed to address the amputation risks that the agency said electrocution amputation metal stamperemployees faced while using mechanical presses, as well as when changing dies. These types of risks can be mitigated by Lockout/Tagout procedures and compliance with OSHA’s regulations regarding machine safety.

Additionally, OSHA’s report stated that employees working on an energized 480-volt circuit weren’t wearing the required protective equipment, exposing them to risks of electrocution.

An electrical safety inspection or audit is needed to identify potentially hazardous electrical situations and provide corrective actions for situations determining compliance with NEC ®, NFPA ® 70E and 70B, OSHA, electrical safety work processes, maintenance tools, and to identify potential costs savings and inefficiencies through modification of electrical systems.

The Martin Technical Arc Flash Risk Assessment, Labeling and Safety Program is one of the most comprehensive in the industry. Our combination of experience, quality and dependability has made Martin Technical one of the premier and most trusted names in arc flash study and electrical safety.  We don’t cut corners, and we put safety first!

Martin Technical will save you hundreds of hours developing an Electrical Safety Program & Plan. With an extensive background in electrical safety and training, we will recommend detailed topics and language, specific to your facility that should be included in your Electrical Safety Program.

We offer training programs as well to get all your employees on board with compliance and make them aware of the safety measures and policies. Our NFPA 70E ® Electrical Safety and Arc Flash  training program is designed to save lives, prevent disabling injuries, and prevent damage to plants, building and equipment.

Beyond that, we offer a Qualified Electrical Worker Certification & Electrical Safety Training Program that help fulfill OSHA Subpart S, 1910 and NFPA requirements for “Qualified Persons.” OSHA states that only a “Qualified Person” is permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts and that a “Qualified Person” is “one who has received training in and has demonstrated skills and knowledge in the construction and operation of electric equipment and installations and the hazards involved.”

Contact a member of our Safety and Compliance Team today to discuss how we can bring our expertise to your facility to improve the lives of your employees and your business.

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GE Contract Worker Electrocuted in MD Industrial Accident

Westover, MD – A contract worker was electrocuted and another injured in an industrial accident at a power plant within Maryland’s largest correctional facility, the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover.electrocuted

The victims were employees of General Electric and contracted by Maryland Environmental Services, the operator of the co-generation power plant at the estimated 3,200-inmate medium security facility. The wood-chip burning power plant is about 30 years old, and the GE workers were contracted to perform an extensive electrical control upgrade at ECI.

The electrocuted worker was a field service engineer who received an electric shock and subsequently died. It was unknown whether the employee died at the scene. The injured worker was expected to be released from Peninsula Regional Medical Center, after being briefly hospitalized for possible anxiety-related circumstances.

There were no other injuries, and a prison official said neither ECI correctional staff members nor inmates were in the area of the accident. The accident posed minimum interruption to operations at Maryland’s largest prison, and officials said inmate security was never compromised.

As procedure, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency (MOSH) is at the prison conducting an investigation.

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OSHA Fines Ohio Metal Shredders for Welder’s Electrocution

Miamisburg, OH – The electrocution death of a welder at a Cohen Brothers subsidiary facility in October 2014 has resulted in one willful and eight serious safety OSHA electrical safety violations.

Metal Shredders, a subsidiary of Cohen Brothers, located in Middletown, Ohio has been issued proposed penalties of $115,000 by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration. These fines follow an investigation initiated by OSHA after the electrocution of a Metal Shredders maintenance worker.

On Oct. 16, 2014, Geff Garnett attempted to enter a substation by climbing over a concrete wall and fence on the side of the transformer substation. His foot touched the electrical line, which was still energized, and was electrocuted.

OSHA found Metal Shredders failed to protect the welder from an energized electrical line while he was cutting a metal roof off an industrial transformer substation at the facility. The failure resulted in the death of the employee. OSHA investigators found Metal Shredders failed to verify that electrical lines were absent of voltage after turning off the disconnect switch inside the transformer substation cabinet, resulting in a willful violation. Obviously this kind of tragic accident could have been avoided if the materials being used had been checked properly, but it’s also a good idea to look at getting the best mild sheets to ensure safety even further.

Cohen Brothers were also issued three serious safety violations for failing to train employees in electrical safe work practices, the proposed penalties of which total $21,000.

“This was a tragic death that could have been prevented by following basic safety practices for working with high voltage transmission lines,” says Ken Montgomery, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati. “Employers who work with high voltage electricity must train workers in recognizing hazards and proper procedures to de-energize lines, and ensure the working environment is safe. No workers should lose their life on the job.”

Cohen Brothers strongly disputes the citations. In an official statement, they’ve said, “(OSHA) issued incorrect and unfounded citations today against our company for the October accident that took the life of Geff Garnett…Safety is the core value of Cohen Recycling and we have a long-standing and recognized commitment to the health and safety of our employees.”

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Electrical Accident at PA Mall Kills Worker

King of Prussia, PA – An electrical accident Monday at the King of Prussia shopping mall northwest of Philadelphia, PA has resulted in the death of one of the injured workers. 36-year-old Joseph Iacovino of Norristown died at Paoli Hospital Wednesday. The cause of death has been ruled electrocution and classified as accidental.

The accident happened Monday morning, as crews worked on the mall’s expansion project. Iacovino and another worker were inside a scissor jack lift cutting electric cables beneath the second story floor of an existing section of the Mall near a newly constructed portion. Iacovino was shocked and seriously injured when an energized cable carrying 13,000 volts of electricity was cut by a coworker.

According to police, the arcing wire created a small fire, which was extinguished, and a moderate smoke condition, which was quickly remedied. Both workers were employees of Omni Electric of Collegeville, PA.

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OSHA Fines Kolek Woodshop for Fatal Electrocution of PA Roofer

Creighton, PA – Kolek Woodshop, Inc. has been cited by OSHA for ignoring electrocution hazards. The fatal electrocution of Andrew “CK” Sakala Jr. on a roofing job in September 2014 was the result of his using a non-approved aluminum ladder which made contact with a 7,200-volt power line. Kolek Woodshop sent a second employee to complete the job 72 hours later, exposing that person to the same conditions that resulted in the fatal electrocutionelectrocution death of Sakala.

OSHA said it identified one willful violation because Kolek exposed the second employee to the same hazards after the fatality. The company also failed to report the fatality to OSHA. The western Pennsylvania-based roofing contractor now faces penalties of $67,900. Don’t fall into the trap and hire a ‘cheaper’ contractor to get the job done. The last thing you want are fatalities on site. You’ll find an abundant amount of roofing companies Austin who are more than likely happy to travel. You could check them out for your roofing requirements.

Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh area office, said it was “alarming” for the second employee to be sent into the same potential danger: “The blatant disregard for worker safety demonstrated [in the Kolek case] is horrifying and completely despicable…This company’s failure to implement basic safeguards resulted in tragedy.”

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