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.

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.

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.”

Drilling Firm Fined by OSHA for Safety Hazards at Texas Site

An Oklahoma-based horizontal drilling company faces up to $55,000 in penalties for safety violations at a drilling site in Jacksboro, Texas, federal officials say.

O.S.H.A. cited Horizontal Well Drillers with three repeat and one serious safety violation for exposing workers to hazards. OSHA’s Fort Worth Area Office conducted an investigation in response to a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. Proposed penalties total $55,500.

These repeated violations include failing to provide an auxiliary escape line, ensure all guardrails are installed to prevent falls of more than 4 feet and ensure the usage of personal protective equipment such as flame-resistant clothing in the event of an arc flash fire.

(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.)

Serious violations involve a failure to ground the shale shaker trailer and 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.

Horizontal Well Drillers, headquartered in Purcell, Oklahoma, is an oil and gas drilling company that employs about 450 workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Fort Worth area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA awards Michigan plant the Star Award for excellence in safety

(In order to qualify for the Star Award, companies must have illness and injury data rates that are below the national average for their respective industries as set by the Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Michigan’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) presented the Star Award to a power plant in River Rouge, Michigan. This is the highest ranking award within OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).According to the plant’s records, the River Rouge facility had an illness and injury rate average of 1.6 in 2010, compared with the industry national average of 6.2 that same year.

One of the reasons for this plants success is that it implements a program that invites other local plant employees to watch for hazards that River Rouge workers might have missed.

Plant manager Vinay Bhakkad described the award as

“the apex of many years of audits, reviews of hazard prevention and control efforts, safety training reviews, assessment of management’s commitment to safety, and a pledge to stay safe from each of the 150 employees who work here.”

Companies should do all they can to strive for excellence. If you are a manager of a business, one way to do that is to make sure all of your employees have proper safety clothing like flame-resistant clothing, rubber insulated gloves and safety goggles, as this equipment can not only reduce the risks of fatal and nonfatal accidents and help decrease the likelihood of receiving any citations or monetary penalties, but most importantly it can save lives.

Worker burned in arc flash event; company fined $110,000

The Ontario Ministry of Labour announced that electricity distributor Waterloo North Hydro Inc. was fined $110,000  by Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to an incident in which a worker was badly burned due to an arc flash.

“Workers from Waterloo North Hydro Inc. had installed transformers on site and were attempting to send power from a transformer in one location to a transformer in another location,” the ministry stated in a press release Wednesday. “As power was sent to the second transformer, a worker for an electrical contractor was in the area routing a metal tape through a duct. The tape came into contact with a newly energized electrical conductor and caused an arc flash. The worker was badly burned.”

The utility pleaded guilty in an Ontario Court of Justice to failing to establish and implement an adequate job plan prior to installing and energizing the transformers.

“A job plan would have identified all known hazards and implemented controls for each hazard to protect workers from injury,” the Ministry of Labour stated.

The fine was imposed Monday by Justice of the Peace Ruth Legate Exon. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge to be credited to a government fund intended to help victims of crime.

Utility Lineman Electrocuted

July 17, 2012 – Shakopee, Minnesota

A utility worker was electrocuted on Monday while working from the bucket (aka: cherry picker) of a service truck and three other workers on the ground received serious shocks.

While working from the bucket of a utility truck on a 12,000 volt overhead power line, the worker was struck by an arc flash..  While still in the bucket, the injured man who had received 3 degree burns had to be brought down by the ground crew and was rushed to a nearby hospital..

The other three workers were working on the same line in another nearby location,were also injured and treated at the hospital. At this time, two men remain hospitalized but their conditions have not been released.

OSHA  strongly recommends  Arc Flash protective clothing in order to  minimize  the  injuries sustained in the event of an arc flash.  Arc flash temperatures can reach as high as 20,000 degrees Celsius/36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A workers clothing can be melted into his skin; while Arc Flash protective clothing is designed to negate the effects of an Arc Flash event.

Unfortunately the worker in the bucket had not worn any Arc Flash protective clothing and it was reported that a witness heard him repeatedly say,

“I should have put it on. Why didn’t I put it on?”

OHSA is leveling large fines towards companies that do not make it mandatory for their employees to wear and use protective clothing and gear.

The cause of this event is under investigation.

Friends have set up a fund to help their families pay for medical expenses.

OSHA Cited a Steel Fabricator $132,000 in fines

A Steel plant in Maine was cited by OSHA for alleged willful violations of electric shock, arc flash, crushing and laceration hazards.

“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 further recurrences.” 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.

According to the agency, maintenance employees were not supplied with and did not use PPE to protect themselves against the hazards of electric shock, arc flash, and arc blast events while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment, which resulted in one willful citation with a $70,000 fine.

Failure to correct other work site errors resulted in added fines.

Any doubts that your company is compliant? Your employees safe?

The 2012 Edition of the NFPA 70E recommendations are in print and take effect January 1, 2012.

Do you and your employees know all of the changes? Have they been implemented into your Electrical Safety Program? Do you have an Electrical Safety Program? Have you had Electrical Safety Training in the last year?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, then contact Macron Safety today!

Call 916-905-6535 or contact us to be certain you are in compliance.