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Utility worker dies in accident while trying to restore power – Repost from WCAX

Utility worker dies in accident while trying to restore power, authorities say – Repost from WCAX

HALIFAX, Vt. (WCAX/Gray News) – Authorities in Vermont say a utility worker has died while working on downed power lines.

WCAX reports the incident happened on Reed Hill Road in Halifax.

According to Vermont State Police, 41-year-old Lucas Donahue was working to restore power after trees fell on electrical wires in the area.

Investigators said Donahue was seriously injured and died at the scene. He was a worker with Green Mountain Power.

Authorities said his death has been accidental and doesn’t appear suspicious.

Click here for the article directly from WCAX

Multiple workers suffer electrical burns after Arc Flash incident in Honolulu

HONOLULU (KITV4) – Three workers with Hawaiian Electric (HECO) suffered electrical burn injuries following an incident in the area of Pensacola Street and Kamaile Street, Tuesday morning.

According to a HECO spokesperson, the men were working on an underground power line when an “arc flash” occurred, injuring the workers.

An arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“An arc flash, is similar to like, lightning, as far as the intensity of what happens,” licensed electrician Steve Ricci explained.

“It will create a super heated situation that atomizes the copper, or the conductor, whatever the material is made out of, and that actually is an explosion.”

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reported that the men suffered second and third-degree burns in the incident. HECO tells KITV4 two of the men were taken from the scene to Straub Medical Center to be treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The third victim, according to HECO, was treated at the scene and did not need to be taken to the hospital.

The cause of the arc flash has not yet been determined.

The victims have not been identified by name, but EMS did say the victims were all men – ages 34, 36, and 56.

Honolulu Police officers shut down (HPD) Kamaile Street, between Pensacola Street and Piikoi Street, as the incident was investigated.

HECO sent KITV-4 the following statement:

“Hawaiian Electric is investigating the cause of an arc flash that injured three of our workers on a job site today. Fortunately, none of the employees suffered life-threatening injuries and we wish them a speedy and complete recovery. We spend a considerable amount time and effort at Hawaiian Electric to ensure the safety of our workers and the community and we will look closely at what caused this incident to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

According to HECO, all three of the injured employees have been released from the hospital.

Video of an arc flash in our newscasts were provided courtesy of Electrical Power & Safety Company.

 

Click here for the article directly from KITV 4

 

Cabinet Manufacturer Faces Citations After Worker Electrocuted – Repost from Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

Cabinet Manufacturer Faces Citations After Worker Electrocuted

The citations include violations for not using energy isolating devices, PPE and ladder use.

A cabinet manufacturer was recently cited after a worker was fatally injured.

In March of this year, a 33-year-old technician was replacing a light fixture when they “came into contact with a 277-volt circuit,” according to an OSHA news release. The technician, employed by Wellborn Cabinet Inc of Alabama, was fatally electrocuted. 

After an inspection, the agency determined parts were not checked for de-energization, and “energy isolation devices” were not used to control energy, the agency said. Other violations OSHA found relate to PPE use while “spraying coatings, paints and finishes” and ladder use. The company was cited for eight serious violations. The agency also proposed penalties totaling $115,188.

 “A worker’s family, friends and co-workers now grieve a terrible loss which might have been prevented had Wellborn Cabinet followed federal safety requirements,” explained OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham in the news release. “Every worker has a right to a safe and healthful workplace and every employer is legally responsible for providing one. We encourage employers to contact us with questions about keeping their employees safe.”

Click here for the article directly from Occupational Health & Safety

Worker killed in accidental electrocution at construction site

Worker killed in accidental electrocution at construction site

An industrial accident claimed the life of a construction worker on University Drive Wednesday afternoon.

The man was working with crews inside of the original Burlington Coat Factory in the University Place Shopping Center, according to Don Webster, with HEMSI.

 Robert Philyaw, was 41 years old, and he was accidentally electrocuted while he was working on the electricity at the construction site, a spokesperson from the Huntsville Police Department confirmed.

Philyaw was employed by H.C. Blake Co. Inc. OSHA is investigating this incident.

 

Click here for the full story from WAFF

 

Arc Flash Events at Amazon Warehouses – Solar Panels had to be taken Offline

Arc Flash Events at Amazon Warehouses – Solar Panels had to be taken Offline

On the afternoon of April 14, 2020, dozens of firefighters arrived at an Amazon warehouse in Fresno, California, as thick plumes of smoke poured from the roof of the 880,000-square-foot warehouse.

Some 220 solar panels and other equipment at the facility, known as FAT1, were damaged by the three-alarm fire, which was caused by “an undetermined electrical event within the solar system mounted on top of the roof,” Leland Wilding, Fresno’s fire investigator, wrote in an incident report.

A little over a year later, about 60 firefighters were called to an even larger Amazon facility in Perryville, Maryland, to put out a two-alarm blaze, local news outlets reported

In the intervening months, at least four other Amazon fulfillment centers caught fire or experienced electrical explosions due to failures with their solar energy-generating systems, according to internal company documents viewed by CNBC.

The documents, which have never been made public, indicate that between April 2020 and June 2021, Amazon experienced “critical fire or arc flash events” in at least six of its 47 North American sites with solar installations, affecting 12.7% of such facilities. Arc flashes are a kind of electrical explosion.

“The rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages,” an Amazon employee wrote in one of the internal reports.

By June of last year, all of Amazon’s U.S. operations with solar had to be taken offline temporarily, internal documents show. The company had to ensure its systems were designed, installed and maintained properly before “re-energizing” any of them.

Amazon spokesperson Erika Howard told CNBC in a statement that the incidents involved systems run by partners, and that the company responded by voluntarily turning off its solar-powered roofs.

“Out of an abundance of caution, following a small number of isolated incidents with onsite solar systems owned and operated by third parties, Amazon proactively powered off our onsite solar installations in North America, and took immediate steps to re-inspect each installation by a leading solar technical expert firm,” the statement said.

 

Click here for the full article from CNBC

Most Common OSHA Violations for Electrical Contractors

Highlights from “The Most Common OSHA Violations for Electrical Contractors”

Between October 2020 and September 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) charged nearly $2 million in fines to electrical contractors in the United States. These penalties were all the result of failure to comply with OSHA standards, but which standards in particular?  

By understanding where other electrical contractors have gone wrong, you can help to ensure your firm doesn’t make the same mistakes — and, more importantly, avoid devastating workplace injuries. Here are the 10 most-cited OSHA standards for electrical contractors, according to the latest figures released by the Administration.

Note: This content is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice. For official help complying with these and other OSHA standards, contact your local OSHA office, or contact the Administration at 1-800-321-OSHA.

1. Standard 1926.416:    General requirements for protecting employees

This standard covers the general requirements for working with electrical systems in the construction industry. It contains nine distinct rules, covering everything from preventing contact with energized power circuits to the necessary condition of electrical cables. According to this standard, OSHA citations may result from failure to:

  • Prevent employees from working near power circuits unless those circuits are deenergized and grounded or sufficiently guarded from contact.
  • Ensure employees wear insulated gloves when using hand tools near the potential location of underground power lines.
  • Locate all energized power circuits prior to allowing employees to work near them.
  • Set up barriers around exposed and energized parts of electrical equipment.
  • Keep all walking/working spaces free of hazardous cords.
  • Prevent load increases in circuit protectors beyond the top wiring load rating.
  • Make sure employees use appropriately insulated tools to handle fuses in energized systems.
  • Avoid the use of “work or frayed” cords and cables.
  • Never support extension cords with staples, nails, or wire.

In the October 2020 to September 2021 study period, OSHA issued 39 citations to electrical contractors for violating this standard. These citations led to fines worth a total of $324,353.

6. Standard 1926.20:    General safety and health provisions

This standard clarifies how other standards will be enforced, covering general topics from safety programs to personal protective equipment (PPE) and employee training in the construction industry. It makes several important safety responsibilities clear:

  • Employers are responsible for offering effective safety programs.
  • These programs must include frequent inspection of job sites, equipment, and construction materials, and must be conducted by “competent persons.”
  • Multiple standards within part 1926 of the OSHA regulations require employees to provide safety training as well as appropriate PPE.

    Standard 1926.20 (f) specifies that each failure to train or provide PPE is a separate violation. So if you fail to train a whole team, you could be cited once for each employee, for instance.

Among electrical firms, violations of standard 1926.20 resulted in 15 citations from OSHA during the study period. Total fines amounted to $57,576.

7. Standard 1926.21:    Safety training and education

Here, OSHA spells out the government’s authority over industrial training programs in the construction industry, and clarifies employer responsibility to train employees for safety and health. Sections that may lead to citations for electrical contractors include:

  • Employers must teach employees how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, as well as methods of removing or at least controlling these hazards.

Between October 2020 and November 2021, OSHA issued electrical contractors 15 citations related to this standard, with fines totaling $87,022. That breaks down to an average fine of over $5,800.

 

8. Standard 1926.403: General requirements for approved electrical conductors and equipment

This list of “general requirements” covers the use of electrical equipment in the construction industry, including rules for setting up and working around electrical devices. In part, it states that:

  • Employers must ensure that electrical equipment is safe for use in a variety of conditions.
  • Any equipment that requires certification or official documentation must be installed and used as described by the paperwork.
  • Electrical equipment must be safely secured to mounting surfaces (which means no wooden plugs driven into concrete, which apparently was a common problem when OSHA wrote the rule).
  • Electrical equipment must have a certain amount of empty space surrounding it (usually not less than 30 inches, but sometimes up to four feet).

Violations of standard 1926.403 led to 13 OSHA citations among electrical contractors in the study period, with fines totaling $35,576.

 

9. Standard 1904.39: Reporting fatality, injury, and illness information to the government

Notably, standard 1904.39 is the only item on this list that doesn’t cover the construction industry alone. It comes from part 1904 of the regulations, which governs how employers must record and report workplace injuries and illnesses to the government. Specifically, standard 1904.39 states, in part, that:

  • Employers must report workplace deaths to OSHA within eight hours of the incident.
  • If a workplace injury leads to an employee being admitted to a hospital — or if there’s an amputation or loss of an eye — those incidents must be reported within 24 hours
  • Employers can make these reports either online, using OSHA’s Serious Event Reporting Online Form, by calling your local OSHA Area Office, or by calling the central OSHA phone line at 1-800-321-OSHA.

During the study period, OSHA issued 11 citations to electrical contractors for violations of this standard, and charged total fines of $33,158.

The best way to avoid OSHA citations — and the workplace hazards that lead to them — is to work with the experts, either professional safety advisors or OSHA itself.

 

Click here for the full list of most common OSHA violations for electrical contractors provided by the Solus Group