Archive for August, 2012

OH: Arc Flash Shuts Key Tower Down

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

CLEVELAND, Ohio:  An electrical explosion inside a basement vault Monday afternoon forced the evacuation of about 2,500 workers from Key Tower on Cleveland’s Public Square.  No one was injured, Cleveland Fire Department spokesman Larry Gray said, but a security guard said it took about 30 minutes to evacuate the building’s 58 floors, where the workers were greeted by heavy rain. Gray said the electrical fire was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system in the basement. The explosion occurred around 2 p.m., but Gray said when firefighters arrived within five minutes, they found the system had been properly working and the fire had been contained.

“What the explosion did do was knock out power to the first four floors, and smoke infiltrated the first two floors,” Gray said. “As a precautionary measure, we had the total building evacuated.” Key Tower officials announced by 3 p.m. that the building was closed for the day. No one was let back in except employees who had left valuables at their work stations — and they were accompanied by security. The company was also providing updates on its Twitter accounts,  including information for employees who have questions.

Employees had mixed feelings about the evacuation – generally not happy going out in the rain, but thankful that there was no rendition of “Towering Inferno.” “I’m on the seventh floor, and I could smell something coming from the loading dock area (which is above the basement),” said Dennis Walsh, a Lakewood resident. “It was more like steam than smoke…nothing was bellowing out.” Donna Jacobs of Sagamore Hills, who works with Walsh in KeyBank’s securities lending department, said she didn’t mind the work interruption. “I’d rather be in the rain than in a building on fire,” she said.

Janet Averman of Eastlake, an employee of Squires Sanders LLP on the 49th floor, said the incident reminded her of a similar one in 2003, when the building lost power and she had to walk all the way down to the exit. “At least this time the elevator was still working,” she said. “God was on my side this time.” It was an easy day at work for Craig Uterhark of Gate Mills. “You can’t call today a mundane Monday,” he said. “I’m glad nobody got hurt. My shift starts at 2 p.m., and I walked in the building and walked right back out. For me, I got a nice day off, even if it is raining.”

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TX: SeaWorld Electrician Electrocuted

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

San Antonio, TX:  A SeaWorld San Antonio employee has died after apparently being accidentally shocked while working on a heating and air conditioning unit. Police say 49-year-old Ricardo Corpus died in the rooftop accident.

Officer Matt Porter says another employee heard a sound and saw smoke from the area where Corpus had been working. SeaWorld issued a statement of condolences following Saturday’s incident in an employee area. Park officials say no guests or animals were involved.

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MI: Pirrone President Diers in Electrical Accident

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Mussey, MI: Butch DeBlouw, president of Michigan vegetable shipper Mike Pirrone Produce Inc., died Aug. 15. He was 49. DeBlouw was killed in an electrical accident in the company’s packinghouse, said Joe Pirrone, the company’s former owner. DeBlouw, a co-owner of Mussey-based Pirrone since 1988, and his son Henry bought Joe Pirrone’s shares in the company in May. Pirrone remains at the company as a salesman. Henry DeBlouw, who became secretary and treasurer after the sale, has succeeded his father as president, Pirrone said.

Butch DeBlouw, who grew up on a farm near Mount Clemens, Mich., joined Pirrone in 1985. Growing was his specialty, Pirrone said. “The farming arm of our company was his baby, his passion,” Pirrone said. DeBlouw was also “very good on the telephones,” Pirrone said, and he was known for his intensity, whether it was growing and selling vegetables or coaching his kids’ basketball and hockey teams.

“If something needed to happen, he made it happen,” Pirrone said. “He was extremely driven.” DeBlouw also had a way with people that made him a perfect match for the produce industry, Pirrone said. “I told his children, ‘Your father had three sisters and 500 brothers,’” Pirrone said. “At his funeral, there were more than 1,200 people in the church. He’ll be missed, and we’ll continue on and make him proud of us.”

DeBlouw is survived by his wife, Donna; five children; parents Henry and Deanna; and three sisters.

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MT: $58,300 in OSHA Fines, Including Electrical Hazards

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Missoula, Montana: A janitorial company working in a Missoula nursing home has been cited with almost $60,000 worth of safety violations after exposing workers to multiple hazards, including failure to provide hepatitis B exposure prevention training to employees. Healthcare Services Group Inc. was issued five citations Aug. 7 from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspections were opened in May at the Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Two “repeat” violations – for failing to make vaccinations for hepatitis B available and failing to provide training to employees on hazardous chemicals – carry $44,000 worth of fines. Healthcare Services was cited for similar violations in its Laurel facility and at a facility in Pueblo, Colo., in the past five years, an OSHA news release said.  The three other violations were classified as “serious,” and included not providing the correct training to prevent the spread of hepatitis B.

“Employers must protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials,” Jeff Funke said in the OSHA news release. Funke is the director of OSHA’s Billings-area office. “This employer placed workers’ health at risk by not offering them required bloodborne pathogens training.”

The other serious violations were issued to Healthcare Group for failing to guard the belts and pulleys of a commercial dryer, and failing to cover the opening of an electrical junction box. A serious violation occurs 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 OSHA news release said.

In all, the violations carry $58,300 in fines.  Inspections at Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center were opened on May 21. Calls to the center, which is classified as a “skilled nursing home” in the OSHA news release, were referred to the company’s EmPres Healthcare corporate office.  A person answering phones at Healthcare Group’s Bensalem, Pa., office said the company would not comment on the citations.

Healthcare Group has 15 business days to respond to the citations. According to the OSHA news release, the company can comply with the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Billings-area office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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GUAM: Fruitpicker Electrocuted

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Chalan Pago, Guam:  A man was electrocuted yesterday while picking breadfruit with a fruit picker in Chalan Pago, authorities said. The man, in his 20s, was found dead, high in a tree yesterday afternoon, said Lt. Ed Artero, Guam Fire Department spokesman. The man, identified by his relatives only as “Rocky,” was visiting Guam on his way to Yap, said his nephew, Cooljay Kaselel. Police have not released the man’s name.

The homemade fruit picker the man was using came into contact with a power line, electrocuting him, Artero said. He was slung upside-down from his legs on a branch about 30 feet in the air when his body was retrieved. Several emergency responders and Guam Power Authority officials craned their necks skyward from the ground, watching as a firefighter pried the man’s body from a tree. The tree, which was surrounded by power lines, was in a jungle thicket just off of Chalan Okso, a narrow residential road. Some of the man’s relatives and neighbors watched silently as officials worked. The firefighter used a GPA bucket truck, which is used to repair power lines, to reach the man. The emergency responder had to hack away branches to safely remove the body. The power authority shut down lines in the area before the operation.

A 911 call was received at 3:02 p.m., Artero said. Emergency responders were on the scene 40 minutes later. The man was staying with relatives on Guam after arriving from the mainland, said Kaselel. He arrived here this summer. Ordot-Chalan Pago Mayor Jesse Gogue, who was at the scene, said he thought the man was trying to get the hard-to-reach fruit before moving on to easier pickings. It appeared as though the man had climbed barefoot up the tree, which was on his uncle’s property, the mayor said.

Many of the trees in the area were filled with breadfruit, and some were far from the power lines. “I understand the need to pick fruits and try to feed your family,” said Gogue. But, he added, “It’s a hell of a risk to take.” In June 2011, a man was electrocuted while picking fruit with a metal pole in Mangilao, according to Pacific Daily News files. The man’s metal pole is believed to have touched nearby power lines that ran near the tree.

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CA: 2 Women Electrocuted Saving Driver, Others Suffer Electricity Injuries

August 23, 2012 1 comment

Los Angelas, California:  A witness to the aftermath of a deadly Valley Village accident that electrocuted two women said the scene was frightening and chaotic.  Liz Casmier, who lives at the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue, said dozens of people rushed to the scene after the driver of a white SUV crashed into a fire hydrant and light standard, finally coming to rest on her front lawn.

As water spewed from the broken hydrant, it came into contact with live wires from the overturned light pole and became electrified, authorities said. Two women who had raced to help the driver were electrocuted and died at the scene. “It was horrible, chaotic, just horrible,” Casmier said.

Many people initially tried to help, she said, but as several would-be rescuers were injured, others realized the water was electrified and had to stop. One man, who appeared to be the husband or close relative of one of the victims, was on his knees, distraught, on the ground near the woman, Casmier said.“It’s so horrible and sad,” she said.Los Angeles police have identified one of the women who died as Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank. The identity of the other woman has not been released. Information about the driver, who survived, has not been released, police said.Story via LA Times

Trinidad and Tabago: T&TEC Electrician Electrocuted

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Penal, Trinidad and Tobago: A 46-YEAR-old Penal electrician died yesterday after he was electrocuted while working on a lamp post at Point Fortin.  Gayadeen Lookhoor, of Ramjohn Trace, was said to have suffered an electrical shock while he was descending a pole and fell off a ladder. Lookhoor and other employees of N and S Electrical Contractors, of Penal, were changing conductors and isolating lines along the Dunlop stretch in the vicinity of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) sub-station.

Police were told around 8.55 a.m. Lookhoor was descending a lamp post when his shoulder touched a live wire.  He fell off a ladder and fell 20 feet to the ground.  An ambulance took him to the Point Fortin Health Facility where he was pronounced dead on arrival.   Corporate Communications manager at T&TEC Annabelle Brasnell stated in a release that T&TEC has appointed a five-member committee to investigate the fatal accident.  Lookhoor’s death follows three other fatal incidents involving electricians working on T&TEC lines.

Last September, T&TEC craftsman trainee Richie Rivers, 23, was electrocuted while working on the Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna. Rivers, of Rio Claro, was working on an electricity pole when he was electrocuted and he fell 20 feet to the ground. Then on January 10, Ghanaian national Samuel Ownsu also died from electrocution. A week later, electrical linesman Gary Patterson, 42, died while on duty at Siparia.

The Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is expected to hold a press conference on the issue of fatal accidents at the workplace today at its headquarters at Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando.

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