Testimonials

Underground Electrical-Arc flash Injured 2 Workers in Grand Rapids

Two Consumers Energy workers were injured in a flash explosion in an underground storage area in Grand Rapids.

The workers are recovering. Consumers Energy is continuing to investigate the cause of the flash explosion.

They were working in an underground, concrete vault, where electrical-distribution equipment is kept and maintained, when they were burned by an electrical-arc flash, Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern said.

Morgenstern described the vault as a “small working area” that also houses equipment.

The work was related to a construction project on Division that includes improved electrical reliability downtown.

“Our thoughts are with the employees and their families as they continue to recover from their injuries”, said Consumers in a statement.

Click here for the story from MLive

Worker dies after being electrocuted at steel manufacturing plant

Worker dies after being electrocuted at steel manufacturing plant

A man was electrocuted at the TMK IPSCO Plant in Ambridge, PA.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, emergency officials responded to the facility at 11:12 a.m. Wednesday, where authorities said an outside contractor who was working inside the plant suffered electrical injuries. He later died after being transported to Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office identified the victim as David Bupp, 46, of Harmony.

The plant manufactures seamless pipes and provides testing and inspections.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating.

OSHA has inspected the Ambridge facility in the past. In August 2017, a worker’s finger was caught in machinery and his fingertip was amputated.

OSHA has up to six months to complete its investigation.

Click here to read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

OSHA Cites Metal Extraction Facility After Workers Burned by Arc Flash

OSHA Cites Metal Extraction Facility After Workers Burned by Arc Flash

ASARCO faces $278,456 in penalties for two willful violations and one serious violation.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ASARCO – a metal smelting company – for electrical hazards after an arc flash caused three workers to suffer severe burns at its facility in Hayden, Arizona. The company faces $278,456 in penalties for two willful violations and one serious violation.

OSHA inspectors determined the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160-volt switchgear. OSHA cited the company for its failure to provide a pre-job briefing before work began on the energized switchgear, render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and ensure the injured employees had arc-flash protective clothing.

“Employers must not jeopardize the safety of workers,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto, in San Francisco, California. “Arc flash hazards are well known, but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”

 Click here for the OSHA News

 

‘It’s a Miracle’ Man Survived Electric Shock Accident at Work: ‘Some of His Body Was Burned’

‘It’s a Miracle’ Man Survived Electric Shock Accident at Work: ‘Some of His Body Was Burned’

“It went through his stomach and out of his shoulder,” said his daughter Micha Christen Bavousett

A man in Tennessee was electrocuted while working, and his daughter has opened up about the terrifying incident.

Mike Bavousett was doing maintenance work when he sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The Clinton Utilities Board told WVLT, the employee was replacing lines in a bucket truck at the time of the electric shock.

Bavousett’s daughter, Micha Bavousett, said in a Facebook Post, “Some of his body was burned from the electricity. It went through his stomach and out of his shoulder. BUT they said he is alert and is going to be ok”.

Micha told WVLT News that doctors expect Mike will be fine, but he will be in the hospital for a couple of days to be sure.

“It’s a miracle the electricity missed his heart,” said Micha. ” I’m sure the recovery won’t be too easy so please still keep praying for him!! Thank you all!”

After the accident, Mike was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where doctors told Micha that her dad has flash burns on his stomach and arms.

According to police, no was else was hurt and no threat was posed to anyone nearby.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into the circumstances leading up to the accident.

Click here for the news story from WVLT

“I Hear You Knocking . . . But You Can’t Come In!”

Check out this months article from Employment Law Monthly, written by Melanie D. Lipomanis, an Associate on the Employment Team at Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

I Hear You Knocking . . . But You Can’t Come In!

The time to plan and implement procedures for handling a worksite inspection is definitely not when the Occupational Safety and Health inspector, known as a compliance safety and health officer (“CSHO”), is knocking on the door. Frequently, employers permit CSHOs to expand their inspection to areas in the workplace that are not specifically related to the injury or illness under investigation. Since the inspectors can cite any violations they see in “plain view” regardless of the purpose of the inspection, permitting them unfettered access to the entire worksite can lead to additional citations and penalties.

In United States v. Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that OSHA could not expand the scope of a narrow injury-based inspection to a facility-wide general inspection based on the employer’s OSHA 300 injury and illness logs.

In her article she lays out the Facts, Impact of Mar-Jac, and Employer Takeaway from this case.

Facts: Mar-Jac operates a poultry plant in Georgia. In 2016, an employee was hospitalized after being burned by an electrical arc flash. The employer reported the incident as required under OSHA regulations. OSHA’s initial inspection uncovered the potential for other electrical hazards in the poultry plant. OSHA sought to expand the scope of the inspection to cover the entire facility and search for additional hazards in the plant that had no relation to the electrical accident whatsoever, including ergonomics, biological hazards, and slips/falls.

The employer consented to an inspection of the specific worksite and tools involved in the electrical accident, but refused to allow inspection of any additional areas or hazards. OSHA applied for and was granted a warrant to inspect the entire facility. Mar-Jac filed an emergency motion to quash the warrant.

Procedurally, in a warrant application, OSHA must establish probable cause by providing reasonable suspicion that a violation exists. OSHA argued that Mar-Jac’s OSHA 300 injuries and illnesses logs created reasonable suspicion of hazards which suggested the existence of violations. The Eleventh Circuit rejected this argument, holding that a recorded injury or illness does not by itself demonstrate that it resulted from an OSHA violation. The Court distinguished hazards from violations, and explained that the existence of a hazard does not necessarily establish the existence of a violation. OSHA must show a violation to demonstrate reasonable suspicion in a warrant application.

Impact of Mar-Jac: Mar-Jac reinforces that there are limits on OSHA’s inspection authority. OSHA cannot expand its inspection of a facility based solely on the existence of an injury or hazard. Rather, OSHA must proffer additional evidence to support its reasonable suspicion of a violation. Although Mar-Jac is an Eleventh Circuit decision and not binding precedent in other jurisdictions, it does offer a valuable lesson for employers to reasonably limit their consent for inspection to the specific area or tools involved in the reported injury or illness.

Employer Takeaway: Employers are entitled to Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of their workplaces, including inspections by OSHA. Accordingly, a CSHO must obtain either the employer’s consent or an inspection warrant prior to any inspection of the employer’s premises. Frequently, the CSHO will arrive at the worksite unannounced, and unarmed with a warrant. Employers do not want employees to make an all too common mistake of throwing the company doors wide-open when they absolutely have no obligation to do so. The initial contact is the first opportunity the employer has to negotiate with the CSHO to limit the scope of the inspection and control how the inspection process will be carried out. This is where the employer’s advanced planning really will pay off.

Section 8(a) of the OSH Act provides: “OSHA may inspect at reasonable times any workplace during regular working hours and at other reasonable times within such reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner.” During the initial consultation, the employer should try to come to terms with the CSHO regarding the reasonableness of the scope and limitations of the inspection, i.e., define the equipment, and/or area of the worksite that is to be inspected by the CSHO. Once that is established, the employer should confine the CSHO’s access and travel routes to only the areas within the scope of the inspection. The CSHO’s physical access to the premises should be with a management escort only, including the company compliance officer during any walk around and sample collection activities.

The CSHO has the right to interview employees as part of any inspection, however, the employer is entitled, and should insist, to be present for the interviews of any management employees.

Click here for the complete article.