Testimonials

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

Worker for Keene electric company electrocuted at wastewater treatment plant

An investigation is underway after a worker died when they were electrocuted during an accident at the Keene wastewater treatment plant.

The victim’s identity has not been released as of yet. Keene Mayor George Hansel called Wednesday a difficult day for the city. “I just want to first express my heartfelt sympathy to the family members of the person who passed,” Hansel said.

The person who died is an employee of Hamblet Electric. Hansel said they were working as a sub-contractor on a backup generator replacement project at the wastewater treatment plant located on Airport Road in Swanzey.

The incident happened just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. CPR and an AED were used to help the victim, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Monadnock family services also responded to the scene with the state’s mobile crisis response team to provide support services.

“This morning and in the coming days and weeks, we are going to make sure that mental health support is available to not only our team at the plant, but also our emergency responders, our contractors, anyone involved in this incident,” said Elizabeth Dragon, Keene city manager.

“We’re committed to finding out what’s happening here and insuring that it never happens again,” Hansel said. OSHA is working to determine exactly how the accident happened.

Officials said the Hamblet employee has been working on city projects for a few years and has formed relationships amongst city staff over time.

“Keene is a city, but we’re a close-knit community,” Hansel said. “I know I speak for many in this community expressing my sympathy to the family, friends and coworkers of the individual who passed away.”

 

Click here for the full article from WMUR

          

OSHA starts review after Charlotte airport construction worker fatally electrocuted

A worker died during a construction accident at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina in July. Rosendin Electric, a company based in San Jose, California, filed a report confirming the death with the NC Department of Labor. John Mallow, spokesman for the Department of Labor, said the death was caused by electrocution. The employee was found unresponsive at the construction site, Rosendin spokeswoman Salina Brown told The Charlotte Observer Tuesday afternoon. Brown also said OSHA and the company are investigating the death, in addition to the state.

 

Click here for the full article from the Charlotte Observer

Worker Dies During Routine Maintenance at Steel Meel

Worker dies after incident during routine operation at Middletown steel mill

At a Middletown Works facility, a steel mill in Middletown, OH, a worker died while performing planned, routine maintenance on equipment. “Cleveland Cliffs confirmed that a male worker was conducting a planned maintenance operation at a hot mill strip when he died as a result of an incident during the “routine activity”.”

Out of privacy for the worker and their family, no further details surrounding the incident or the identity of the worker will be released.  Middletown Works is conducting an investigation along with OSHA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to identify the cause of the incident and prevent further worker injuries in the future.

Click here for more on this from the original article

OSHA Fines Steel Company $364K for Repeated Safety Violations

A Texas steel company was fined for multiple repeated safety violations including employee injuries, and even amputation. In October of 2021, one worker was treated for a second degree burn on his hand. Another worker suffered an amputation months later in January of 2022, according to the report from the department’s Office of Safety and Health Administration. Those are just two of the 10 worker safety incidents reported at the steel company in the last five years, the report stated.

OSHA fined the company a total of $364,000 and placed them into their Severe Violator Enforcement Program which is geared towards companies who repeatedly fail to correct safety violations. OSHA has given Vinton Steel until May 3, 2022 to correct 19 safety violations and pay their fine.

“Placement in OSHA’s Severe Violator Program is a designation given to employers that show disregard for employee safety and health,” said OSHA El Paso-area director Diego Alvarado Jr. “The company needs to immediately evaluate its facility for safety and health hazards, implement safety procedures and train workers on how to follow those procedures.”

 

Click here for more on this from the original article

 

What are the Top Electrical Hazards in the Workplace?

What are the Top Electrical Hazards in the Workplace?

Construction, manufacturing, and utility jobs are some of the leading industries in electrical accidents each year. It is estimated that about 9% of injury related deaths on construction sites are the result of electrocution and there are numerous electrical hazards construction workers are exposed to on a regular basis.

“According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are around 12 workplace injury fatalities every day in the U.S. Unfortunately, electrical accidents cause numerous injuries and even result in many deaths every year.”

The top electrical hazards in the workplace include exposed parts and electrical wires, damaged insulation, overhead power lines, improper use of equipment, wet conditions, and a power supply that is not grounded. Electrical hazards can have a variety of consequences, ranging from electrocution and shocks, to fires and even explosions. The outcomes of these hazards can be detrimental, often causing long-term complications for the worker if they survive the incident.

“In 2019, there were 166 electrical fatalities in the United States, with 8% of all electrical injuries fatal. The highest electrical fatality rate was in the construction industry, with utility workplaces the second highest.”

Even if a worker thinks they’re working safely, accidents do happen. There are steps that employers can take to minimize these risks – such as safety training, personal protective equipment, and regular inspections of both the equipment and job site.

 

See the full article here for more details on the common electrical hazards in the workplace.