OSHA issues willful citations for lack of arc flash protections
OSHA cites Mass. Contractor for violations following arc blast
OSHA in 2012 cited Interstate Electrical Services, a North Billerica, Mass., electrical contractor, for alleged willful and serious violations following a November 2011 arc flash blast at an Andover jobsite. Two workers installing electrical service were seriously burned when a piece of equipment made contact with an energized part of an electrical panel, resulting in the arc flash.
OSHA's Andover Area Office determined that the energized electrical panel was not effectively guarded to prevent workers from coming in contact. As a result of this condition, OSHA issued a willful citation, with a $70,000 fine. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
OSHA also issued the contractor two serious citations, with $11,000 in fines, for additional electrical hazards posed by a damaged power cord and an energized electrical wire that was not protected against damage. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"Electricity can injure or kill workers in seconds. It is imperative for employers to ensure all necessary safeguards are in place and in use to prevent incidents like this from occurring," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director in Andover.
OSHA proposes $132,000 in fines against Maine steel fabricator for electrical, crushing and laceration hazards at Augusta, Maine, plant
Also in 2012, OSHA cited Cives Steel Co. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Augusta production facility. The steel products fabricator faced a total of $132,000 in proposed fines for electrical, crushing, laceration and other hazards identified during an inspection by OSHA's Augusta Area Office begun in January.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the severity and recurring nature of a number of these hazards," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence."
OSHA found that maintenance employees were not supplied with and did not use personal protective equipment to protect themselves against the hazards of electric shock, arc flash and arc blast while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment. This situation resulted in OSHA issuing the plant one willful citation, with a $70,000 fine. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Another electrical hazard cited is the use of extension cords as a substitute for fixed wiring, a condition similar to one for which OSHA had cited Cives Steel's Gouverneur, N.Y., plant in 2010. This situation resulted in the issuance of one repeat citation, with a $22,000 fine. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Nine serious citations, with $40,000 in fines, have been issued for crushing hazards stemming from the plant's failure to label and test the weight capacity of an in-house fabricated lifting device used to lift metal plates weighing up to 900 pounds; laceration hazards from the unsafe practice of drop staring a chain saw; a lack of leg protection while using chain saws; falls from standing on raw and fabricated steel products; an incomplete confined space entry program; inadequate egress from a mezzanine and additional electrical hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The inspection was conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs inspections toward workplaces with a rate of workdays lost due to injuries and illnesses that is higher than the industry average.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CivesSteelCompany_316216969_0706_12.pdf*.