Archive

Archive for February, 2011

Hospital Cited by OSHA on Electrical Safety Failures

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

OSHA has cited Northeast Hospital Corp. for alleged repeat and serious violations of electrical safety standards at its facility in Beverly. The employer faces a total of $63,000 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by a worker complaint.

OSHA found that some hospital employees were exposed to potential electric shock, burns, arc flash incidents and electrocution while changing circuit breakers on live electrical panels. Specifically, the employees lacked or did not use personal protective equipment while working with energized electrical equipment; electrical protective equipment was not periodically tested; electrical safety related work practices were not used; and specific procedures were not developed for the control of hazardous energy while replacing electrical breakers.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of four serious citations with $28,000 in fines. OSHA issues a serious citation 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.

The hospital also was issued one repeat citation, with a fine of $35,000, for failing to ensure that unused openings in electrical panels and cabinet motor control centers were effectively closed. The citation was classified as repeat because OSHA had cited the hospital in May 2010 for a similar condition. A repeat citation is issued 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.

“Electricity can kill or severely injure workers, literally in a flash. There is no margin for error here,” said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. “That’s why it is vitally important for the safety and well-being of employees working with electricity that they be properly trained and equipped with effective protective equipment.”

Northeast Hospital Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA’s Andover Area Office; telephone 978-837-4460. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Advertisements

2 Utility Workers Electrocuted in India in Separate Accidents

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment
KEONJHAR, INDIA : Two persons were electrocuted while working on electrical lines in Champua and Baria police station areas.

The two have been identified as Sadasiba Naik (45) and Binod Mohanta (40). The incident was took place around 7 pm on Thursday at separate locations, about 40 km from here. While Sadasiba Naik, a line man, died at Ukhunda village in Baria, while working on a 11-KV line, Binod Mohanta, a relative a line man at Chauthia in Champua was electrocuted while repairing a similar 11-KV line.

Sadasiba was working on the line, when the shock hurtled him off the pole, sending him rolling to the ground. Binod was, however, found hanging from the pole after being electrocuted.

The incidents have angered the villagers of Chauthia and nearby areas who on Friday staged a protest and gheraoed the executive engineer of Nesco and other officers of the department, demanding compensation for the families. They villagers did not allow the police to take down Binod’s body from the pole.

Sources said that after electricity supply from Rimuli substation was disrupted, these two men were sent to carry out some repair work, when a sudden surge of electricity killed them.

Police arrived on the spot on Thursday night, but the villagers refused to hand over the bodies. They demanded compensation of about `5 lakh for Binod’s family, who were residents of Chauthia. Binod was not an employee of the department. Hiring him to do the repair work should not have been allowed, claimed the villagers.

“They were repairing the line after the supply was shit down. The line, on which they were working, suddenly got charged when a wire from another feeder line fell on it,” Nesco superintendent engineer Nirmal Das said. “The actual cause can be ascertained only after an investigation,” he said, adding, “Action will be taken against the lineman who allowed the villagers to repair the line,” SE added.

Sources alleged that the deaths were caused due to the negligence of department.

Incidentally, about six persons, including two children, have died due to electrocution within a span of a few years. Meanwhile, people of the area say power cuts and failures have risen in the area. They are demanding separate electrical sections by installing a sub-station at Ukhunda to cater to the electrical need of that area. At present, the area is under Rimuli electrical section.

Free Electrical Safety Resources

Click Logo for Free Resources

Theives Stealing Copper from Electrical Equipment

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

A potentially deadly gas leak at a home on Glen Park Ave. is traced back to a series of break-and-enters in 13 Division. The thieves’ target? Copper pipes.

Brass and copper plumbing supplies valued at $600,000 are stolen from a business near Dixon Rd. and Highway 27. Eavestroughs made of copper are no sooner installed than they are swiped from homes.

The metal is by no means easy to steal, but that isn’t stopping thieves who recognize its rising value. With copper closing at a record US$4.63/lb. Monday, Toronto Police are on alert that there could be an increase in daring — and dangerous — robberies.

“People are stealing copper for the value of it. It is a concern,” said Toronto Police Const. Tony Vella. “We’ve had a few occurrences — one that could have been deadly.”

Toronto Police recently issued a warning after a “disproportionate number” of break-ins in Glen Park in northwest Toronto. After the copper pipes were cut in a vacant luxury home, Enbridge measured gas levels of more than 40 per cent inside. They caught the leak before it caused an explosion.

Thieves are so brazen that they will even steal copper from live transformer stations. Hydro One loses about $1 million a year from stolen copper, said Gregory Taylor, head of copper theft prevention.

In Feb. 2009, a 38-year-old Windsor man was electrocuted to death trying to steal copper from a Hydro One station.

The Bermondsey transformer station in Scarborough has been stripped of copper three times in the past five years — costing Hydro One $24,000 each time, Taylor said.

When thieves disrupt the copper grounding wires at transformer stations, they not only put their own lives in danger but also those of Hydro One workers who might not realize the station has been tampered with, Taylor added.

“It’s the public safety aspect of this that really concerns us,” Taylor said.

Since Taylor was assigned to copper theft in 2008, Hydro One has identified 45 transformer stations most targeted for break-ins, beefed up patrols and installed barbed-wire fences.

Meanwhile, contractors who work with copper said theft of the pricey metal is an ongoing problem.

Scraps of copper were stolen from the construction site at Old City Hall during the five-year restoration project, said Cameron Forbes, vice president of the contracting firm Heather & Little Limited.

Contractors are sometimes hired specifically to replace stolen copper, said Tom Shreeve, a manager at the Toronto-based Semple Gooder Roofing Corporation.

“We’ve undertaken repairs to replace copper that’s gone missing on a number of different types of buildings,” Shreeve said.

Triple M Metal in Scarborough, for one, pays up to $3.92/lb. for copper scraps. Scrapyards that buy and sell copper can also fall victim to thieves, said Len Shaw, executive director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI).

“You’ve got piles of it sitting in your yard. Literally, somebody could jump over the fence, throw it into his pickup truck, drive it into the scrap yard the next day and sell it back to the guy and he wouldn’t know,” Shaw said. “We’re very concerned about this.”

CARI helped develop a website where the North American scrap recycling industry can post reports of stolen materials. But Shaw admits there are challenges to tracking stolen copper.

“One piece of copper tubing is the same as another piece of copper tubing,” he said. “There is no way, unless it’s specifically marked, to determine where that piece of material came from. … Quite often material is stolen and then it’s deformed into pieces, squashed and things like that, so it doesn’t even look like what it was to begin with.”

Story via TheStar.com

US Military Electrocution in Shower Accident Part of Task Force

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, stepped into a shower in Iraq in January 2008 — and it was the last action he would take on this earth.

Sergeant Maseth was electrocuted in that shower — one of many service members killed or injured by allegedly faulty electrical work in thousands of structures maintained in Iraq by a contractor. The contractor denies wrongdoing, and legal action on the matter continues.

Former Army Maj. John Cockerham now sits in a federal penitentiary — his home for about the next 16 years — having been found guilty of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from unscrupulous contractors while deployed to Southwest Asia. Master Sgt. Mark Carnes will learn of his punishment in March following a guilty plea to similar, but unrelated, charges.

While faulty wiring and deadly living conditions may seem worlds apart from a relatively white-collar crime like accepting payoffs, the common denominator linking such cases is contract fraud.

A series of such high-profile cases in recent years led to the establishment of the International Contract Corruption Task Force, which seeks to educate and inform government employees about contract fraud and violations. The ICCTF fully investigates suspected wrongdoing for criminal prosecution and is made up of federal agents representing nine different agencies, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, stationed throughout SWA, plus a supporting organization in the United States.

Story via AF.mil

NOTE:  One problem encountered in the Middle East with US military facilities constructed or managed by local workers is that they have not been properly trained on electrical codes to prevent these types of accidents from happening.  National Electrical Code International training is available for construction companies throughout the world that work on US installations, but the training isn’t always getting done.

Youth Electrocuted by Cutting Machine

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Chack Chawant, Pakistan –  A youth was electrocuted at Chak Chawant on Monday.

Muhammad Zubair was cutting fodder from an electric machine when suddenly his hands touched a livewire. As a result, he received electric shocks and died on the spot.

Story via TheNews.com.pk

Utility Worker Electrocuted in TX

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Flower Mound, Texas – A utility worker was fatally electrocuted Monday while working in Double Oak. [ Bloggers note:  “fatally electrocuted” is redundant and the work “electrocuted” is often misused by the media.  If a person has been electrocuted, they have been killed by electrical shock.]

Police said that Jacob Lee Willis, 32, of Waxahachie, TX was working with Southern Electric Corporation on a power pole replacement crew in the 100 blk. of Meadow Knoll Rd. when an energized power cable touched the metal boom of the lift he was standing beside.

Upon arrival, Double Oak Police Officer Michael Huffman went to the backyard and observed Willis on the ground receiving CPR. 

The Argyle Fire Department responded, provided medical treatment and transported Willis to Presbyterian Hospital in Flower Mound where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation into the official cause of death by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office is ongoing.

2 Companies & Individual Face Charges After Worker Electricutions

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Edmonton, Canada – Charges have been laid in a workplace accident that killed two men in 2009.

Damien McEwen, 27, and Jason Banks, 32, were electrocuted when equipment they were using touched an overhead power line at the Penn West gas plant site, about three kilometres west of Edmonton, on Jan. 29, 2009.

Two companies, Proflo Production Separators Ltd. and TY2K Consulting Ltd., and an individual, Eric Spuehler, are facing charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Code.

The charges allege failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker at a work site, failing to prepare a report of the results of a hazard assessment, and failing to ensure that the hazard assessment is repeated at reasonably practicable intervals to prevent the development of unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

Charges are laid for each of the two workers who died. The first court date is slated for March 23 at Stony Plain Provincial Court.

The victim have previously been described as experienced oil-and-gas workers.

Story via EdmontonJournal.com

Note:  Proper electrical safety training is not only required, but it must be repeated at intervals, especially if its a task that the worker seldom does.  Improper clearance of equipment with overhead lines is a common electrical accident and is something that should have annual training.