OSHA Fines

OSHA News Release: Federal investigation into fatal 2022 electrocution in Kansas City – company again failed to protect workers

OSHA News Release – Region 7

U.S. Department of Labor

Federal investigation into fatal 2022 electrocution in Kansas City finds Midwest engineering services company again failed to protect workers

US Engineering Services employees electrocuted while servicing HVAC systems in 2021, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO ‒ A fourth-year apprentice heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician employed by U.S. Engineering Services suffered fatal electrocution after coming in contact with energized parts while repairing HVAC equipment on Aug. 24, 2022, at University Academy, a college prep charter school in Kansas City, Missouri.

A federal investigation  found the company failed to follow required procedures which would have prevented the incident, a violation cited by federal investigators in July 2021, when another company HVAC technician was fatally electrocuted while working on a rooftop air conditioning unit not drained of all its energy in Wichita, Kansas.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found U.S. Engineering Services – a subsidiary of the Midwest enterprise, U.S. Engineering – failed to de-energize equipment and prevent equipment from unintentionally starting during repairs or maintenance. OSHA also found the Kansas City-based company failed to conduct hazard assessments to identify personal protective equipment needs and other requirements for field employees at contracted sites and allowed a damaged extension cord to be used at the repair site.

“This worker’s death was avoidable. Employers must follow well-known electrical safety procedures set forth in federal regulations and industry-recognized practices,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “Companies whose employees work with electricity must take all necessary steps to make sure they are protected from dangerous electrical hazards so they can return home safely.”

OSHA’s investigation found the worker was cleaning a chiller unit in the academy’s mechanical room when the electrocution happened. While the chiller’s fan motor was turned off using the building’s HVAC management system, neither a lock and/or tagout was placed on the unit control switch to ensure electrical power was drained from the coils and the air handler.

Investigators also determined neither arc flash personal protective equipment or lockout/tagout equipment was onsite at time of the incident.

OSHA cited U.S. Engineering Services for three serious and two repeat violations and proposed $197,642 in penalties. The agency identified similar violations after the July 2021 fatality. The company settled the case and paid the penalties assessed by OSHA.

U.S. Engineering Services is one of five companies held by U.S. Engineering in Kansas City. Its holdings include U.S. Engineering Construction, U.S. Engineering Metalworks, U.S. Engineering Innovations and USE Real Estate Holdings. 


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OSHA fines company $333,560 over alleged workplace violations in accident that killed worker in Boston

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $333,560 against Eversource Energy for workplace safety violations related to an arc flash and blast last summer that killed a 31-year-old worker.

The Eversource employees were doing maintenance work on electrical equipment in an underground electrical vault July 12, the agency said. As one employee set the equipment back into place, an arc flash and arc blast occurred. The worker, identified by Eversource as Fabio Pires, suffered severe burns and later died.

The utility did not fully de-energize the electrical equipment or follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations when employees conducted maintenance, OSHA said. It also failed to make a reasonable estimate of the heat energy to which employees would be exposed if an arc flash and blast occurred, it said.

In addition, Eversource did not adequately train employees on electrical equipment hazards, provide rescue equipment or test oxygen levels before the employees entered the vault, an enclosed space, the agency said.

“Eversource could have prevented this arc flash and blast — and its tragic outcome — by ensuring effective and necessary training, procedures and work practices were provided and followed,OSHA Area Director James Mulligan said in a release Thursday. “The company knew the hazards related to this type of high voltage equipment, yet it failed to safeguard its employees as the law requires.”

Eversource spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said the company disagrees with OSHA’s conclusions and the characterizations of its actions. The utility “will continue to respond accordingly as this process becomes final,” she said in a statement.

“We remain deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague Fabio Pires following the tragic incident in downtown Boston last summer,” Pretyman said. “Safety is the most fundamental aspect of our everyday focus to provide reliable energy service, and we always strive to lead by example in accordance with industry best practices.”

OSHA cited Eversource for two willful and three serious violations. Eversource has 15 business days to comply and pay the fine, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings, the labor agency said.

Pires, who lived in Brockton, Massachusets, was born in Cape Verde and moved to the U.S. with his mother in 1999, according to an obituary. Trained as an electrical engineer, Pires began working at Eversource in 2016.

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OSHA Fines TPC Group $514,692 for Willful Violations Linked to Explosion

OSHA fines TPC Group $514,692 for willful violations linked to explosion

TPC Group faces $514,692 in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is accused of three willful violations — the most severe and rare category used by the agency — after OSHA concluded its investigation into the Nov. 27 plant explosion in Port Neches.

OSHA announced its conclusions Wednesday, giving some of the first official glimpses of potential failures at the plant since a vapor cloud explosion under a butadiene processing tower ignited flames that burned for weeks at the site and injured three people.

“OSHA cited TPC for three willful violations for failing to develop and implement procedures for emergency shutdown, and inspect and test process vessel and piping components,” representatives from the agency wrote in a statement.

Of the willful violations, OSHA concluded that TPC Group failed to provide updated instructions on how to shut down affected equipment, didn’t fix deficient equipment that could have caused the incident or alerted workers to a problem, and failed to use proper procedures on a pipeline design known to cause issues when using butadiene.

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OSHA Cites Solar Contractor Almost $40,000 After Fatal Electrocution of One of Their Workers

OSHA cites solar contractor almost $40,000 after fatal electrocution of one of their workers

The agency said Wednesday that it cited Power Factor LLC for four serious violations after the employee, who has not been identified, died July 24, 3018, while installing solar panels at the base. In their findings, the agency says the employee was hoisting a metal rail that came into contact with overhead power lines.

OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work too closely to electrical power circuits without de-energizing and grounding the circuits, or guarding the circuits using insulation or other means. Officials also said the company didn’t regularly inspect the job site or train workers to recognize and avoid hazards.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had complied with electrical standards that require maintaining a safe distance from unprotected energized power lines, training employees, and providing personal protective equipment,” said OSHA Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge.

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OSHA Cites Contractor After Employees Suffer Burns From an Arc Flash

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Tennessee Contractor
After Two Employees Burned at Nuclear Power Plant

SODDY DAISY, TN – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Day & Zimmerman NPS Inc. for exposing employees to electric shock hazards at the Tennessee Valley Authority Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. The company faces $71,599 in proposed penalties.

Two employees pulling electrical cable suffered burns from an arc flash. OSHA cited the Chattanooga-based company for failing to require that employees wear protective clothing and equipment; conduct pre-job briefings with employees on energy source controls; removal of a ground and test device; and allow potential for residual electrical energy to accumulate.

“These serious injuries could have been prevented if the company had implemented effective work practices to reduce the risk of electric shock hazards,” said OSHA Nashville Area Office Director William Cochran.

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U.S. Department of Labor Cites Ohio Recycling Company for Safety Violations

News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Ohio Recycling Company for Safety Violations

COLUMBUS, OH – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Sewing Collection Inc. – a coat hanger recycling company – for serious and repeat safety violations. The Columbus, Ohio-based company faces proposed penalties totaling $190,247.

An inspection in April 2018 found that the company exposed employees to fall, machine guarding, and electrical hazards; failed to train forklift operators; and did not have proper emergency exit signage.

“Employers have a responsibility to conduct workplace hazard assessments regularly to determine appropriate measures at protecting workers’ safety and health,” said OSHA Columbus Area Office Director Larry Johnson. “This company’s failure to comply with federal safety requirements needlessly exposed employees to workplace injuries.”

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