Archive for October, 2012

GA: $69,300 Fine for Marglen Industries Inc

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Rome, GA:  OSHA fined Marglen Industries Inc. $69,300 for safety violations after a worker had four fingers amputated while servicing a dust collector’s airlock system at the company’s Rome, Ga., facility.

One violation involves allowing employees to perform service and maintenance on the dust collector’s airlock system without developing, documenting and using a specific lockout/tagout procedure for de-energizing the system, OSHA said.

OSHA also charged Marglen with one serious violation for allegedly failing to train workers as required by the company’s lockout/tagout program to ensure that they are able to recognize hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods necessary for isolating energy.

Marglen is a PET fiber recycling company.

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NH: Redhook Brewery Fined, Electrical PPE Issues

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Portsmouth, NH — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to the owner of Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth after a six-month investigation into the accidental death of an employee.

A 26-year-old brewery worker was fatally injured in April when a plastic beer keg he was cleaning with pressurized air exploded, striking him in the head and chest.

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), the parent company of Redhook, now faces a combined $63,500 in fines from OSHA in connection with the accident, as well as workplace safety issues noted during subsequent inspections of Redhook’s brewery at Pease Tradeport. OSHA investigators have concluded the brewery’s keg washing equipment was operating at a pressure that exceeded the maximum threshold recommended by the manufacturer of the plastic keg when it exploded on the morning of April 24. CBA was issued three citations on Monday, following OSHA’s lengthy probe into the industrial accident.

The first citation was issued in connection with the keg accident, and it includes a pair of “serious” violations. A serious violation is one that “could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation,” according to information available from OSHA. OSHA investigators allege Redhook employee Ben Harris, the Newington man killed in the accident, was exposed to hazards while he was “over pressurizing a plastic keg” with the keg washer. The violation carries a $7,000 penalty. The keg involved in the accident was not owned by Redhook or any other brewery under the CBA umbrella. It was delivered to Redhook in error as part of a delivery of empty keg returns. CBA has indicated that Harris was emptying the keg in order to stack it on a pallet, in a manner “substantially identical” to the process the brewery has used for years without incident. The manufacturer of the plastic keg that exploded is not identified in the OSHA citation, which indicates the keg had a maximum recommended pressure level of 60 pounds per square inch (psi).  Redhook’s keg washing equipment was exceeding that level, according to the citation. It was also exceeding the maximum recommended pressure of Franke steel kegs, the citation states.  Steel kegs are commonly rated at a maximum working pressure of 60 psi as well, industry expert Jeff Gunn told Foster’s last week during a discussion of keg design.
In a statement issued to Foster’s Tuesday evening, Craft Brew Alliance noted that it did not willfully violate workplace safety standards, and said the issues raised in the citations have already been addressed.

“The Portsmouth brewery uses compressed air to push waste beer out of returned kegs prior to washing and filling,” the statement reads. “The brewery believes it was operating safely because it has historically washed and filled only stainless steel beer kegs without incident. Redhook had never worked with plastic beer kegs at the time of the accident and has implemented policies to ensure that plastic kegs are not processed. Additionally, Redhook has installed pressure reducing and pressure relief devices to ensure that no incoming keg is exposed to pressure in excess of 60 psi.”

On Sunday, Foster’s reported that some microbrewery owners across the country are beginning to cast a wary eye toward plastic kegs in light of the tragedy at Redhook.

The Brewers Association, one of the largest trade groups representing microbrewers in the country, has also received numerous reports from members about failures of plastic kegs.

All of those reports involve products manufactured by a California company called Plastic Kegs America, Brewers Association director Paul Gatza said last week.

Since the accident at Redhook, Foster’s has learned of at least four breweries around the country where plastic kegs have exploded while being cleaned in a pressurized keg washer. In each instance, the breweries were using products manufactured by Plastic Kegs America.

In each instance, the kegs separated at the center seam, where two pieces of plastic that form the keg come together.

CBA has indicated that the April 24 explosion that killed Harris split the keg around the middle seam where the two halves were joined.

In August, an unidentified brewery also submitted a report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission detailing explosions of two plastic kegs, with photographic evidence. Both were manufactured by PKA, according to the report.

OSHA has not released its full report on the circumstances behind the Redhook accident, and the manufacturer of the plastic keg that exploded has not been identified publicly.

An OSHA spokeswoman indicated Tuesday that the report will not become a public record until Craft Brew Alliance has been allowed to view it.

Plastic Kegs America has declined to answer questions regarding the accident at Redhook until after the OSHA report is made public.

Among microbrewers, the Redhook incident has also raised questions regarding what manufacturing standards apply to pressure vessels that hold beer. The Brewers Association is polling keg manufacturers to learn more about the domestic and international standards they utilize.

After concluding its investigation at Redhook, OSHA also cited CBA for a variety of other issues not related to the keg washing equipment.

In one case, OSHA assessed CBA a $6,000 penalty for storing oxygen and acetylene in proximity to each other.

A second citation lists 14 more “serious” workplace safety violations. In one example, Redhook allegedly failed to properly anchor a pedestal grinder in the maintenance shop to a fixed location, landing a $3,000 fine.

In another instance, employees were welding stainless steel containing chromium and the employer did not determine their potential exposure to chromium, according to the citation.

Six of the violations were corrected while federal inspectors were still visiting Redhook, the citation indicates. Another eight were awaiting corrective action when the citations were issued on Oct. 22. They have deadlines for action ranging from Oct. 23 to Dec. 5.

A third citation includes six low-level violations, classified as “other than serious.” Infractions included in the category include things like, “Label on drum of iodine was not legible,” and “blue rubber insulating gloves used during electrical testing/troubleshooting inside panel boards (up to 240 volts) were not tested.” None carry a fine.

USA: Sandy Wreaking Havoc – Electrical Fires Errupting

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Washington DC: The destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy mounted Tuesday morning as electrical fires and record power outages added to the misery of devastating flooding in the Northeast.

By early Tuesday, more than 7 million customers shivered without electricity in 10 states and the District of Columbia in Sandy’s chilly wake.

Sandy also claimed at least 16 lives across the United States, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 84 after the storm wreaked havoc in the Caribbean.

The storm sent trees crashing down and left neighborhood streets looking like rivers. Floodwaters rushed into New York’s subway tunnels and ripped up part of Atlantic City’s fabled boardwalk.

Hundreds of people were stranded in one New Jersey town alone Tuesday morning. And Connecticut’s governor offered ominous advice in a Twitter post: “If u find urself surrounded by water, call 4 help if u can, then get 2 highest level of home. Hang a white sheet out a street-side window.”

Authorities scrambled in boats to rescue trapped residents in several towns after a berm broke in Moonachie, New Jersey.

“Within 30 minutes, those towns were under 4 or 5 feet of water,” said Jeanne Baratta of Bergen County police.

Hundreds of people had been rescued Tuesday morning, Gov. Chris Christie said.

“We’ll have to rescue hundreds more,” he said.

Meanwhile, the stench of smoke was blown across flooded streets as fierce winds and rising waters shorted out power lines and sparked fires in places such as Lindenhurst, New York.

At least 50 homes burned to the ground in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, fire officials said. The cause of the blaze was not immediately released. More than 200 firefighters battled the leaping flames.

Elsewhere in New York City, emergency backup power failed and 10 feet of water flooded the basement of NYU Langone Medical Center, prompting the evacuation of 260 patients. Nurses manually pumped air to the lungs of those on respirators.

Atlantic City, New Jersey, became an extension of the Atlantic Ocean. Seaweed and ocean debris swirled in the knee-deep water covering downtown streets.

Like many New Jersey residents, Montgomery Dahm stared in awe at the feet of water that deluged Atlantic City.

“I’ve been down here for about 16 years, and it’s shocking what I’m looking at now. It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I mean, there’s cars that are just completely underwater in some of the places I would never believe that there would be water.”

Along the East Coast, residents reported images they’d never seen before.

“We just looked out the window, and there’s this river flowing through the middle of Manhattan,” said Earl Bateman, a stockbroker who has lived in New York for 30 years.

More fury to come

But the weather nightmare isn’t over yet.

Forecasters say the entire Northeast corridor of the United States will bear the brunt of Sandy.

Fierce winds will blow from northern Georgia into Canada and as far west as Lake Michigan on Tuesday. Meanwhile, heavy rains will soak New England and parts of the Midwest.

And a blizzard spawned by Sandy will bring 2 to 3 feet of snow to the mountains of West Virginia by Wednesday morning.

“It’s 3 feet of heavy snow. It’s like concrete,” said meteorologist Reed Timmer, who is riding out the storm in Elkins, West Virginia.

Thousands of flights will remain grounded Tuesday. Federal government offices will stay closed. And it will take between 14 hours and four days to get the water out of the subway tunnels in New York.

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night,” said Joseph Lhota, chairman of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region.”

The full scale of Sandy’s wrath has yet to be determined. But according to a government prediction, the storm’s wind damage alone could result in more than $7 billion in economic loss.

Power outages spanned from Virginia to Maine, and the iconic Manhattan skyline turned eerily dark.

“This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history,” said John Miksad, senior vice president of power company Con Edison.

Roaring in

After killing at least 67 people in the Caribbean, Sandy made landfall Monday night in southern New Jersey, sending waves of water into major cities along the East Coast.

Officials blame Sandy for at least 16 deaths in the United States. Several victims, including an 8-year-old boy in Pennsylvania, died after being hit by a tree or tree limb. Another death was reported in Canada, where flying debris struck a woman.

As the devastation spread, President Barack Obama signed major disaster declarations for New Jersey and New York on Tuesday.

Hardik Rajput of Nassau County, New York, couldn’t believe the sight of waves crashing over

the height of cars.

“To be honest, I was just stunned,” he said. “I’ve never seen that. Just to see it on the street level was astounding.”

In New York, Manhattan’s Battery Park recorded a nearly 14-foot tide, smashing a record set by 1960’s Hurricane Donna by several feet.

Five hours after making landfall, Sandy still packed hurricane-force winds as it swirled about 10 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

As residents in New York and New Jersey surveyed the flooding left by Sandy, many discovered their high-rise apartment buildings became islands.

“I am looking outside of my sixth-floor apartment, and I see that a new lake has formed in the parking lot adjacent my building,” New Yorker William Yaeck said. “I would be concerned, but now my building has a view of the river.”

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IL: Bailey House Restaurant Gutted in Electrical Fire

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

CAMP POINT, ILL. — An Illinois State Fire Marshal says an electrical malfunction caused an electrical fire that gutted the Bailey House Restaurant in Camp Point Sunday.

The newly renovated restaurant is the site of the century-old Bailey’s Opera House in town. Owners Ted and Sara Lung had just opened for business Aug. 31.

“We went through a 4 month renovation. Everything’s brand spanking new,” Ted Lung said

Lung said an employee, arriving on scene, noticed the flames and immediately called for help. It took about 8 minutes for the first fire crews to arrive.

“On a usual Sunday, we’d be seeing more than 300 people come through these doors,” Lung said. Instead, he welcomed in dozens of firefighters.

Four fire departments responded to the scene of heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, crews discovered four to five foot flames in the kitchen. The fire spread into the ceiling of the kitchen and into the stage area on the second floor.

“It looks like a bomb went off in the kitchen,” Lung said. He’s thankful no one was injured in the fire.

In all, 40 firefighters from Camp Point, Central Adams, Clayton and Quincy fire departments worked to contain the fire.

“We just really appreciate your prayers and support during this time of rebuilding and renovation. But we’re going to come back with a grand reopening and be bigger and better,” Lung said.

Lung says the fire displaced 26 employees from the restaurant and 10 others from the neighboring business ArgriLogic Insurance Services. Bailey House staff spent Sunday morning relocating what they could salvage into a building across the street. Lung says they’ll meet there Monday morning at 6 o’clock for their first staff meeting after the fire. “We’ll regroup” and begin to rebuild, Lung said.

Insurance will cover the rebuild.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Lung said.

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FL: $150,000 Damage in Electrical Fire

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- An early morning electrical fire on Monday caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to a Southeast Cape Coral home. The fire was attributed to an electrical overload.

Around 3:30 a.m., firefighters responded to a 911 call reporting a structure fire at 925 SE 4th Place. Upon arrival, fire crews found the garage engulfed in flames and smoke throughout the home. With assistance from the police, all five occupants were evacuated from the smoke-filled structure. Fire crews were able to bring the blaze under control within 30 minutes, even with the presence of hurricane shutters, which blocked access to many of the windows.

Firefighters rescued two of the family’s five cats that were trapped in the home, and the three remaining cats later were found alive and hiding. Two dogs also were evacuated safely from the home.

A fire inspector arrived on scene and determined that the fire started around the front of the garage. An outside electrical cord lying in mulch was connected under the garage door to timers attached to a breaker box in the garage. The electrical connection appeared to be powering outdoor Halloween decorations.

The Red Cross and LCEC responded to the residence to assist.

The hurricane shutters on the home were a source of serious concern for the City’s Fire Department.

“We encourage our residents to remove hurricane shutters unless there is an imminent storm threat to our city,” said Fire Chief Bill Van Helden. “Covering windows with hurricane panels not only prevents firefighters from being able to effectively attack a residential fire, it also blocks points of escape for the occupants of the home.”

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PA: Tavern Fire Ruled to be Electrical Short

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Clamtown, PA: West Penn Township police say an electrical malfunction is to blame for an early-Thursday morning electrical fire that destroyed a popular tavern and eatery on Route 443 in the township village of Clamtown.

Township police Chief Brian Johnson said an electrical malfunction in the kitchen area of the Clamtown Tavern sparked a 7:10 a.m. blaze that inflicted major damage to the interior of the building.

Johnson said a passerby called police to report smoke coming out of a ventilation fan on the tavern. Leaving the scene of a two-car crash on Route 309 about a mile and a half away, Johnson said he arrived at the tavern to find flames in the kitchen area. Johnson said he tried using a fire extinguisher on the fire, but the flames were spreading quickly and overcoming the capabilities of the fire extinguisher.

Johnson said he exited the building and used a cellphone to call Robert Carnes, the owner of the business.

Johnson said Carnes answered the phone and said he was sleeping on the second floor of the tavern.

Johnson said he told Carnes, “You need to get out right now, the building is on fire.”

According to Schuylkill County property records, the building is owned by Carnes and Jason Schmidt.

Firefighters from West Penn, Tamaqua, Hometown, New Ringgold, New England Valley and Mahoning Township, Deer Lake and Schuylkill Haven departments responded. The fire was brought under control in about two hours and firefighters remained on scene until about noon. Route 443 was temporarily closed while firefighters battled the blaze.

Johnson conducted the investigation and determined that an electrical malfunction sparked the blaze. He said no injuries were reported.

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NJ: Possible Arc Flash at The Chatham Club

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Chatham Township, NJ: Members and employees of The Chatham Club were evacuated at about 2:40 p.m. Friday when an electrical fire broke out.

Keith Vastola of the Green Village Fire Department said they received the call at 2:38 p.m.

“The fire was put out quickly,” Vastola said, but the club remained “very, very smoky.”

Fire departments from Green Village, Chatham Township, Chatham Borough and Summit responded, along with the Chatham Emergency Squad and Chatham Township Police.

Chris Rutgers, the general manager of the Chatham Club, said this incident was “verry different” from another electric fire which evacuated the club in June. “There were actual explosions … in the electrical system,” Rutgers said. “We just don’t know what the cause was.”

Rutgers said the first thing she heard was a “popping.”

Vastola and Rutgers said everyone inside the club made it outside safely, and there were no injuries from smoke inhalation.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this in the 26 years I’ve been here,” Rutgers said.

Emergency personnel remained on the scene as of 4:30 p.m. Friday venting the club of smoke.

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UK: Electric Box Fire

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Falmouth, UK: Two crews from Falmouth were mobilized on Saturday evening to an electrical fire involving an electric box attached to a property at Budock Water, near Falmouth.

A CO2 extinguisher was used to deal with incident and Western Power were called to isolate the box from the electrical network and make it safe. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Story via Cornwall News

CT: Historic Synagogue Destroyed in Electrical Fire

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Milford, CT: Smoke was pouring out Richard Jacobs’ synagogue. A congregant at the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont since his childhood in the 1930s, his family would attend during summers at the beach, and then he again became a regular when he and his wife Cary moved to Milford, Conn., full-time in 1999.

But last Sunday morning, an electrical fire burned everything except the congregation’s precious Torah scrolls. The memorial stained glass windows burst from the heat, and everything in sight was charred. The historic congregation and home of Chabad-Lubavitch of Milford was in ruins.

“It was a very charming place, with a little blue sky above the altar that was painted with stars,” detailed Jacobs. “As soon as we heard the noise, someone said, ‘The synagogue’s on fire,’ and we ran right over there.”

Rabbi Schneur Wilhelm was at home with his family when he got a call from the fire department that the building was on fire. He rushed to the synagogue and showed the firemen where to find the ark so they could rescue its two Torahs.A big expansion had been planned for the synagogue, a wood building built in 1926 that is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. But now, getting the place back in shape is the first order of business, said Jacobs.

“We got them both out, thank G-d, and they are in one piece,” he said. “But we really have to get them over to a scribe before we can determine the extent of the damage.”

People stood outside and watched as the synagogue their parents and grandparents attended went up in flames.

They’re working with the city as they look for a place to regroup while they rebuild, said Joel Levitz, president of the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont/Chabad of Milford. On Wednesday, congregants buried holy books burned in the fire at the BethIsrael Cemetery.“It’s not just a regular fire. Fire is hard, especially when it comes to a synagogue, but with the history of the shul, it makes it so much more difficult,” said Wilhelm.

For the past 11 years, Levitz has been going to the synagogue, which under Wilhelm’s leadership has become a weekly congregation.

“He’s a wonderful rabbi and it’s a welcoming place to pray,” said Levitz. Many tears were shed on Sunday, he added, but the plan is to pick up the pieces and move forward. “That’s our plan, to rebuild.”

Since Sunday, calls have been pouring in from religious leaders and the broader community as people offer their help with the process.

“Everybody wants to do something,” said Levitz.

It’s devastating but not fatal, added Jacobs. “We’re looking to the future. Everyone is rallying around the center, so we know it’s going to be alright.”

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IN: $5,000 in damages from Apartment Electrical Fire

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Columbus, IN: The Columbus Fire Department says heat buildup due to a electrical problem in a second floor apartment caused an electrical fire and forced residents to be evacuated around 2:20 p.m. Sunday at 3338 South Country Brook.

Fire Department spokesman Matt Noblitt says firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to locate the source of the heat and smoke reported by the tenate Siva Rama Krzshnam Raji B.

Fire units removed as little ceiling as possible and cut power to the entire apartment to stop the threat. The apartment complex’s manager made arrangements for Siva’s family until the problem can be corrected. The apartment complex is owned by Equity Property Management.

No injuries were reported at the scene. Damage has been estimated at $5,000

Story via White River News