Worker dies in a flash fire. Employer failed to provide Flame Resistant Clothing

Ringgold, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited natural gas producer and operator J.R. Resources with eight health and safety violations at its Ringgold gas well site. OSHA began the August 2012 inspection after a worker, who was not provided or required to wear flame-resistant clothing, died from injuries sustained during a flash fire.

Of the seven serious violations cited some include failing to require and provide flame-resistant clothing be worn when working around natural gas; failure to provide fall protection from stairs on brine tanks; failure to provide safety training and a written hazard communication program/plan; and failing to properly label tanks and prevent workers from riding in the bucket of a backhoe. The employer was also cited for utilizing an electric pump in the presence of flammable materials.

A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

One other violation that was cited was for failing to report the fatality to OSHA within eight hours, as required by law.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment, and that includes finding and fixing hazards associated with the workplace,” said Theresa A. Naim, director of the OSHA Erie Area Office. “OSHA will continue to hold employers responsible when they fail to protect their workers.”

Proposed penalties total $22,400.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Fire resistant clothing now required near Wyoming oil and gas wells

The state of Wyoming now requires all workers within 75 feet of an oil or natural gas well bore must be wearing fire resistant clothing. The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday it is implementing the new rule, first approved by the governor-appointed Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Commission in October.

The commission also mandated that shutoff devices on diesel engines are to be used on all drilling rigs. These new decisions were lauded by the state’s oil and gas industry.

“As an industry, we were pleased to help work on those rules and we’re pleased to see them being implemented,” said John Robitaille, vice president of the Wyoming Petroleum Association. “We hope they do what they’re intended to do and save people from getting hurt in the jobs that they do.”

The state’s rule making mandatory use of fire resistant clothing near wells was not well received by all. Smaller companies complained that the fire resistant clothing was too expensive to make mandatory. Some complained that the clothing would only protect workers from flash fires.

Yet, may larger companies have required safety clothing for their employees before it became mandatory.

Two workers critically burned in electrical explosion

While working in a commercial warehouse in San Jose, two men were critically injured when an electrical panel exploded. According to the local fire captain, fire crews responded to a reported fire and explosion around 9 a.m. Three workers has been working on an electrical unit in the back of a warehouse when the unit suddenly exploded causing a fire to breakout. In the initial blast, one worker received critical burns, and a second worker received serious burns to his face and hands. Both men were rushed to a burn center.

It is unknown at the time of this writing if the workers had on proper Arc Flash safety clothing, face shields, gloves or insulated equipment which is required by OSHA standards as well as Safety Training and safety practices that need to be in place prior to working with high voltage electricity.

PG&E employee died while working in an underground electrical vault in California.

A 26 year old PG&E employee died while working in an underground electrical vault in California. After a lengthy investigation by Cal/OSHA it was found that 9 critical violations were in play. Some of the violations included a legally required on site safety briefing which had not been done, supervisors failed to check that the power to the vault was off or on, the employee was left alone in the work area which is in direct violation of workers who, when they are in a high risk area, must be under observation, and he had been allowed to get too close to an energized area along with the fact he was not wearing the proper safety clothing; insulated gloves.  After this accident, two more PG&E workers were electrocuted on the job. One of these two tragedies included a worker who separated crossed wires and was not wearing the proper safety rubber gloves.

PG&E officials now say that the deaths have caused them to revamp electrical worker’s training.

NEW OSHA standards coming in March 2013. Is your company ready? Or at risk?

OSHA is about to make major changes in it’s regulations for electrical utility construction and to the general electrical industry. OSHA has not made these kinds of major changes since it was established in 1994. These new OSHA standards will require that companies implement new & updated electrical safety training which will bring them current with the new law implemented this March. Read Hugh Hoagland’s article from the February issue of ISHN Magazine on the importance of implementing NFPA 70E and NESC arc flash training changes.

Workers exposed to hazards & not provided protective clothing. OSHA fines company $129,500

Landes Foods LLC, located in Dallas, Texas has been fined by OSHA for repeat health and safety violations. A follow-up inspection by OSHA at the company’s tortilla plant showed that none of the prior documented violations had been corrected. The workers were still being exposed to unsafe conditions.

The 3 prior violations that were cited were:

  1. Ensuring that receptacles have the correct polarity.
  2. Not providing “quick drench” and eyewash facilities for employees who work with corrosive cleaning chemicals.
  3. Not providing employees with the proper protective footwear.

The proposed penalties being fined against this company total over $129,000.

3 companies are cited by OSHA after the deaths of 2 workers at a Texas work site

Two employees at a Hockley, Texas work site were cutting metal with a torch when a combustible dust flash fire ignited killing both men.

Over 22 serious violations were leveled against 3 companies along with financial penalties proposed against the companies that totaled over $100,000. This does not include any possible civil law suits that may be brought by surviving family members.

OSHA violations include ensuring that cutting operations are halted in the presence of combustible dust, failing to adequately control emissions of combustible dust, just to name a few of the 22 violations.

One of the companies was also cited with seven serious violations for failing to develop and implement a respiratory program; provide training on the hazards of working with combustible dust; ensure cutting operations are halted in the presence of combustible dust; ensure the use of a body belt when working in an aerial lift; and ensure aerial lift loads do not exceed required limits.

Per OSHA, “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.” Proposed penalties total $20,240.

OSHA also cited a second company with 14 serious violations, including failing to adequately control fugitive emissions of combustible dust; keep work areas clean of combustible dust; provide warning signs to alert employees of combustible dust hazards; and keep emergency cylinder respirators fully charged. Additionally, confined space violations were found, including failing to identify and evaluate confined space hazards and develop and implement confined space procedures. OSHA also cited the company with two other-than-serious violations for failing to certify the use of emergency respirators and document filter changes. Proposed penalties total $91,300.

A third company, Conroe, Texas-based JP Electric, which assisted in demolition activities, was cited with one serious safety violation for failing to prohibit cutting operations in the presence of combustible dust. Proposed penalties total $2,800.

“This incident underscores the seriousness of exposing workers to the inadequate control of combustible dust,” said David Doucet, OSHA’s area director at its Houston North office. “Following OSHA standards helps to save lives and avoid such needless tragedy.”

Cut-Resistant Clothing

cut-resistant-clothingMacron Safety has become the “go-to” company for Arc Flash and FR clothing, as more and more companies discover our light weight yet highly protective clothing and our personalized customer service. Macron Safety’s Arc Flash light weight clothing has the same protection and coverage as the heavy, hot clothing that has been historically the only choice in the industry for Arc Flash and FR clothing.

Macron Safety is now offering a new cut resistant fabric. Many companies offer the Hex Armor gloves and sleeves. Macron Safety is offering jackets, pants, bib overalls, lab coats and many other clothing items out of the same super skin fabric used to make the Hex Armor gear. As a safety company offering various types of PPE we can now also offer tree trimmers, glass handlers, dog catchers, meat cutters (and on and on) cut level 5 clothing that is light weight and comfortable to wear.  We also use this fabric on our FR clothing as knee and elbow patches which significantly increases the life of the garment.

Macron Safety is now proud to offer the Super Skin Defender Series.  This line of clothing offers impenetrable, industry leading cut resistance shirts, pants, and anything else you can think to make (Macron Safety works with you to customize your needs).

The new fabric we use exceeds both ISEA/ANSI and CE/EN388 level 5 cut-resistance.  The tiny guard plates create a shielding effect which resists like no other material in the market.

Performance is enhanced through the configuration of tiny guard plates which provide resistance to lacerations and slashes like no other material on the market.

·  Exceeds ISEA/ANSI (ASTM F1790-05) and CE (EN388) Level 5

·  Shielding effect keeps sharp cut hazards (metal, blades, glass) from slipping between fibers and causing cut injuries

·  Won’t snag or abrade like typical fiber-based cut-resistant clothing.

What we have learned at Macron Safety is that typical cut-resistant clothing is made with a performance fiber like Kevlar and while this clothing offers a fair level of cut-resistance, it lacks the ability to prevent hazards from puncturing or penetrating the skin.  At Macron Safety our NEW cut-resistant clothing offers more than just protection from the sharp edges of glass causing straight edge cut hazards, it protects from both straight edged cuts and variable straight on puncture situations.

Macron Safety’s new clothing incorporates a variety of protective fabric functions that no other known fabric can simulate; including industry-leading cut, puncture, and needle-resistance fabrics.

Call 916 905-6535 or Contact Macron Safety for all your protective clothing needs and questions.

No More Heavy, Bulky FR Garments! Polartec FR Fabrics Are Safe, Warm and Comfortable

For the past 50 years, flame resistant (FR) garments have been heavy, bulky and very little if any breathability. These fabrics also can degrade over time in their flame protection capabilities. Polartec®, the world’s leading fabric technology company, launched a total layering system of flame resistant (FR) fabrics. These fabrics are specifically designed to work together to keep you safe and comfortable in a wide range of conditions. Polartec FR fabrics are now available!

Polartec has worked for over 10 years with the U.S. Military to create new fabrics for soldiers.  The technology they developed for high performance flame resistant clothing is now available to consumers who work in the industry that requires safety applications. These fabrics offer leading protection against arc flash and flash fire hazards. The fabrics are designed for high performance as a stand-alone garment or as part of a layering system. Polartec FR fabrics are now available in collections from Macron Safety.

  • Polartec® Power Dry® FR fabrics are odor resistant and provide all-day next-to-skin comfort through a patented knit construction that dramatically improves comfort by transporting moisture away from the skin and pulling it to the outer surface where it can dry quickly.
  • Polartec® Power Stretch® FR is a unique hybrid fabric suitable as a cold weather base layer or as an only layer that offers wind and abrasion resistance, four-way stretch for freedom of movement, and moisture management and breathability to keep you warm and dry.
  • Polartec® Thermal® FR fabrics feature a durable velour construction that offers superior warmth without weight and outstanding breathability to regulate body temperature, making for a versatile and comfortable mid layer or outer layer.
  • Polartec® Wind Pro® FR fabrics are four times more wind resistant than traditional fleece and offer exceptional breathability and a high warmth-to-weight ratio in a unique, lightweight package that sheds rain and snow.
  • Polartec® Power Shield® FR is a new product category for FR apparel – a patented, flame resistant version of the Polartec soft shell fabric that reinvented technical outerwear by offering a unique combination of water resistance, thermal insulation and breathability for active comfort.

Polartec FR fabrics are inherently flame resistant, tested in both in-house and independent state-of-the-art laboratories, and pass relevant industry certifications.

Helping Provide the Latest in Arc Flash Protection to Russian Electrical Workers

A documentary film has been produced that chronicles a Russian worker who survived a direct encounter with an arc-flash event in 2011. The documentary follows Andrey and his fellow workers, as well as his wife, as they expose the dangers that electrical workers encounter and how arc flash protective clothing saved his life.

This documentary details the science behind DuPont™ Nomex® and exactly how it is designed to save lives. The Director General of Energocontract, Alexander Bolshunov, talks about the reasons his company believes that DuPont™ Nomex® was one of the key ingredients in the design and production of their protective clothing since 2002.

At the end of the documentary, it is explained by a representative of the Ministry of Energy how Russia continues to keep worker safety as a top priority in their electrical industry.