Columns / Top OSHA Violations

Non-compliance can lead to fatalities, burns and disabling injuries

Throughout 2014, ISHN will report in each issue on one of the 12 most frequently cited OSHA standards, for fiscal year 2013, ending September 30, 2013.ance can lead to fatalities, burns and disabling injuries

May 1, 2014
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$3,479,620 

Total penalty amount proposed by OSHA for violations of the standard for electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry 1910.303 (October 2012 through September 2013).

Most penalized industries

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing - $443,162

Food Manufacturing - $218,867

Primary Metal Manufacturing - $217,732

Machinery Manufacturing - $161,920

Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods - $136,920

Repair and Maintenance - $152,114

Wood Product Manufacturing - $136,598

Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods - $127,176

Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing - $105,051

Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing - $104,208

Generator safety

One of the common tools utilized following the loss of power are portable generators. Most generators are gasoline powered and use internal combustion engines to produce electricity.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas produced during the operation of gasoline powered generators. When inhaled, the gas reduces your ability to utilize oxygen. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea and tiredness that can lead to unconsciousness and ultimately prove fatal.

• DO NOT bring a generator indoors. Be sure it is located outdoors in a location where the exhaust gases cannot enter a home or building. Good ventilation is the key.

• Be sure that the main circuit breaker is OFF and locked out prior to starting any generator. This will prevent inadvertent energization of power lines from back feed electrical energy from generators and help protect utility line workers from possible electrocution.

• Turn off generators and let them cool prior to refueling.

Electrical incidents

If the power supply to the electrical equipment is not grounded or the path has been broken, fault current may travel through a worker’s body, causing electrical burns or death. Even when the power system is properly grounded, electrical equipment can instantly change from safe to hazardous because of extreme conditions and rough treatment.

• Visually inspect electrical equipment before use. Take any defective equipment out of service.

• Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits, and electrical equipment.

• Frequently inspect electrical systems to insure that the path to ground is continuous.

• Do not remove ground prongs from cord- and plug-connected equipment or extension cords.

• Use double-insulated tools and ground all exposed metal parts of equipment.

• Avoid standing in wet areas when using portable electrical power tools.

Source: OSHA Fact Sheet “Working Safely With Electricity”

Power line safety

Overhead and buried power lines are especially hazardous because they carry extremely high voltage.

Fatal electrocution is the main risk, but burns and falls are also hazards.

• Look for overhead power lines and buried power line indicators.

• Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and assume they are energized.

• De-energize and ground lines when working near them.

• Use non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders when working near power lines.

2,786

Number to total citations

2,113

Number of total inspections

Extension cord safety

Normal wear on cords can loosen or expose wires. Cords that are not 3-wire type, not designed for hard-usage, or that have been modified, increase your risk of contacting electrical current.

• Use only equipment that is approved to meet OSHA standards.

• Do not modify cords or use them incorrectly.

• Use factory-assembled cord sets and only extension cords that are 3-wire type.

• Use only cords, connection devices, and fittings that are equipped with strain relief.

• Remove cords from receptacles by pulling on the plugs, not the cords.

What are the hazards?

Based on data from the NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system, electrocutions were the fifth leading cause of death from 1980 through 1992. The 5,348 deaths caused by electrocutions accounted for 7% of all fatalities and an average of 411 deaths per year.

156 — Fatalities due to exposure to electricity in 2012 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

OSHA announces final rule revising standards for electric power generation, transmission and distribution

On April 1, 2014 (no fooling) OSHA announced that it would be issuing a final rule to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors and labor organizations have persistently championed these much-needed measures to better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical power lines.”

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