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Archive for January, 2013

TX: OSHA Fines BMC Building Materials $41K; Electrical Cord Problems

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

New Braunfels, TX: A New Braunfels company has been fined by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which says they found a total of 7 serious safety violations during a recent inspection.

BMC Building Materials and Construction Services, located on FM 482 here in New Braunfels, builds prefabricated wood trusses.  But they are now facing fines totaling 41-thousand dollars following OSHA’s allegations that the company exposes workers to electric and machine guarding hazards.

Specifically, OSHA claims that during a safety inspection back in October (which was prompted by a complaint about unsafe working conditions) they discovered 7 separate safety violations including a lack of machine guarding on machinery equipment, saw blades, rotating shafts, and pulleys, which OSHA says can lead to serious injuries, including amputations.

Other violations included failing to ensure that electrical wiring is protected, and ensuring electrical cords are maintained in a safe condition.  OSHA says a serious violation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard that the employer either knew about or should have known about.

BMC Building Materials now has 15 business days to comply with the safety regulations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Austin, or contest the citations and penalties before an independent OSHA Review Commission.

Story via www.kgnb.am

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GHANA: Electrical Fault Cause of Hospital Blaze

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Ghana: Preliminary investigations indicate that an electrical fault caused the electrical fire that destroyed two apartments at the Swedru Government Hospital Saturday.

Fire officers say the two separate fires reportedly started shortly after power was restored to the hospital area in the afternoon.

The incident created panic among medical staff and patients until fire fighters managed to prevent the two separate fires from spreading to other buildings.

Swedru Municipal Fire Divisional Officer, Ebenezer Mensah told Joy News such disasters can be prevented if the people adheres to precautionary measures whenever the power goes off.

Story via edition.myjoyonline.com

DC: Boeing Dreamliner Electrical Fire Problems

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, DC:  While Boeing maintains that an electrical fire in an electronics compartment of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner last week and another electrical fire on a test flight in 2010 are not related, the plane’s fire-suppression system does not protect the site where both fires occurred.

The incidents have some aviation experts questioning assurances by company officials, the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the plane is safe.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating last week’s fire, and the FAA is reviewing the plane’s electrical system and the inspection process that led to the plane’s certification in 2011. The Dreamliner relies on its electrical components more than any similar aircraft, and much of that system is supplied by UTC Aerospace.

The Charlotte, N.C., company also furnishes the plane’s fire detection and suppression system, which uses Halon 1301 gas to extinguish fires in cargo compartments, but not the one that contains key electrical systems.

A spokesman for UTC Aerospace directed questions about the plane’s design to Boeing.

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said that fire-suppression systems are not typical in electronics compartments.

“That’s not unique to the 787,” she said. “It’s true of all Boeing airplanes.”

Though production of Halon 1301 has been banned for most uses for nearly two decades because it depletes ozone, it still is commonly used in fire-suppression systems on aircraft. Barry Chase, a fire protection engineer at the National Fire Prevention Association in Quincy, Mass., said that another common use in the past was to protect computer rooms.

“It’s not electrically conductive,” he said. “It was used that way for a very long time.”

Last week’s fire in Boston took 40 minutes to extinguish and damaged a lithium-ion battery that powers the plane’s auxiliary power unit, according to the NTSB. The plane was empty at the time, but one firefighter suffered minor injuries.

The 2010 fire occurred in mid-air and damaged one of the plane’s primary electrical-distribution panels. Backup systems allowed the crew to safely make an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas, and evacuate the 42 people on board. The problem was traced to a metal shaving that caused a short-circuit in the electrical panel, and Gunter said changes were made to the plane’s software to cut power quickly in case of a short.

Boeing grounded its test fleet after the fire, adding to delays that had plagued the program from its inception.

Lithium-ion batteries have caught fire in cellphones, laptops and electric cars. The FAA earlier pushed airlines to take special precautions with bulk shipments of such batteries in cargo holds.

Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general at the Department of Transportation, said the FAA might have overlooked the presence of the battery in the electronics compartment when it certified the aircraft.

“Without the fire suppression, and the use of the lithium battery, I imagine that this is one of the areas the FAA will look at,” she said. “They should have done it before.”

Schiavo was at the Transportation Department during the certification process for another large Boeing jet, the 777. She said that the company’s inspectors, rather than the FAA’s, performed about 95 percent of the certification of the plane.

“That’s how it works throughout the industry,” she said. “People are surprised, but that’s how it works.”

Going on the experience of the 777, Schiavo said that any design or manufacturing errors will appear in the first 18 months to two years of the aircraft’s service. The FAA review is coming right in the middle of that period.

“They will learn an awful lot, and it will be very important to track it,” she said.

Story via www.miamiherald.com

WA: Electrical Fire Shuts Down Power Production at Ice Harbor Dam

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Walla Walla District, WA: Power production stopped at Ice Harbor Dam near Burbank after two small electrical fires were discovered at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The fires were inside two cabinets holding electrical components for two of the dam’s six generators, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Three generators were operating at the time.

Power for dam facilities stopped, but power was being pulled off the electrical grid within 30 minutes for basic facility operations. The navigation lock returned to service at 12:40 p.m.

Snake River flows previously passing the dam via power generation are being passed through the spillway.

The fires did not last long because of the design and content of the electrical cabinets, Army Corps officials said. The fire produced some smoke, but it quickly cleared, they said.

Operations staff at the dam are evaluating the generators and their electrical and mechanical components to determine the extent of any damage and are working to restore power generation capability.

An investigation into the cause of the fires is planned.

 

Chili: Electrocution on High Power Lines

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Santiago, Chili: This is the horrific moment a man performing acrobatics on the top of an electricity pylon was electrocuted.

The man, named only as Miguel, touched one of the high-voltage cables with his legs as he swung back and forth on the beams yesterday.

The contact with the live wires killed him instantly, to the horror of onlookers who had gathered to watch the scene.

Emergency services in the Chilean capital of Santiago had been called after he was spotted ‘playing around’ on the pylon.

Firefighters spent 30 minutes fruitlessly trying to coax him down before he made the fatal wrong move.

The moment was caught in dramatic amateur video footage.

Story via mirror.co.uk

 

Australia: Power Company Charged over Electrocution of 17 Year Old Girl

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Geraldton, Autralia: The state’s energy watchdog has charged Western Power over the electrocution of a 17-year-old girl in Geraldton.

Amber Finch died after she was struck by a damaged power line left dangling by a storm, while walking home with friends in the dark in January 2011.

Two friends who tried to help her were also injured.

Energy Safety has charged Western Power under electricity network safety regulations and the matter is due in the Geraldton Magistrates Court in April.

Story via Yahoo! News

INDIA: Woman Electrocuted Touching Switch Board with Wet Hands

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

NAGPUR, INDIA: Lack of awareness and safety measures claimed the life of a 30-year-old woman who was electrocuted while working with her husband at Navkanya Nagar in Kalamna on Sunday. The couple was digging a well when the incident took place.

It’s learnt that Gnyaneshwar Mahe and his wife Sharda were excavating the earth to construct a well at the residence of one Shyamrao Dabhelkar. As Gnyaneshwar was digging, he asked his wife to throw out the accumulating water. It was at this time when Sharda came in contact with an electric switch board of the motor pump. She collapsed following electrocution and was rushed to a private hospital where she was declared dead. Police said that Sharda had touched the switch board with wet hands. Kalamna police registered a case of accidental death.

Story via Times of India

NM: Tree Trimmer Avoids Electrocution

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

LAS CRUCES, NM:

The tree trimmer involved in two serious accidents on the job in six months told KFOX14 he doesn’t plan to quit his job any time soon and plans to return to work as soon as Thursday.

“I feel lucky because I should be dead or something like that a couple times over,” Craig Benavidez said. “It’s a good thing to be alive.”

Benavidez, 52, was shocked by a power line Monday while he was trimming branches for an O’Donnell Drive home.

Benavidez was lowered to safety by a rescue team with the Las Cruces Fire Department after dangling from a tree about 30 feet above ground.  Benavidez was flown to University Medical Center in El Paso in critical condition, but Wednesday he told KFOX14 his injuries are minimal.  “I have scratches on my head and some electrical blowouts from my feet,” Benavidez said.   Benavidez said he has no memory of the incident or how it happened.  “Waking up in the hospital, that’s all I remember,” Benavidez said.  Monday’s incident was the second major accident on the job Craig has been involved with in the past six months.

In July, Benavidez was attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees.  During his 32-year career as a tree trimmer, Benavidez said he’s had some other minor accidents but nothing like he’s endured recently.   “I just have to look a little bit closer and be a little more careful. A lot more careful,” Benavidez said.  When asked why he planned to get back to work as a tree trimmer, Benavidez told KFOX14 he couldn’t imagine earning his living any other way.

Story via kfoxtv.com

MN: Verso Fined $39K for Lockout Tagout Violations

January 3, 2013 Leave a comment

SARTELL, MN: The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration has closed its investigation into the explosion and fire at the Verso Paper Mill.

OSHA cited Verso for two serious citations.  They were fined a total of $39,200, which the company did not contest and paid.

James Honerman is the Communications Director for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.  He says the first violation was for failing to ensure specific “lockout/tagout procedures”.

An overheated compressor led to the explosion and fire.

Plant employees, doing routine maintenance, shut down a well that provided water to cool the plant’s compressors on the day of the accident.

The explosion and fire on Memorial Day killed Jon Maus, and injured four other workers.

The company announced in August it would not reopen the mill.

Story via wjon.com

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NY: OSHA Fines Rosina Food Products over $54K; Lockout / Tagout Violations

January 3, 2013 Leave a comment

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rosina Food Products Inc. with nine serious violations of workplace safety standards at its West Seneca production facility. The manufacturer of frozen food products faces a proposed penalty of $54,750.

The inspection, which began in September, identified several deficiencies in the plant’s process safety management program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the process is the operation and maintenance of the plant’s refrigeration system and the chemical is anhydrous ammonia, used in the refrigeration system.

‘The stringent and comprehensive requirements of OSHA’s process safety management standard are designed to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals, including ammonia,’ said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director for western New York. ‘This requires full, effective and proactive adherence to the standard’s requirements by the employer.’

In this case, OSHA’s Buffalo Area Office found that the plant lacked effective standard operating procedures for all emergency shutdown procedures of the refrigeration system, necessary corrective actions identified during hazard analyses of the refrigeration process, clear instructions for safely conducting refrigeration procedures, written procedures to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of all equipment used in the refrigeration process, and procedures for handling small releases of anhydrous ammonia. In addition, the inspection found that all required safety testing was not performed. The plant did not develop specific procedures for locking out machines to prevent their unintended startup during servicing, did not inspect such procedures, and did not use group lockout/tagout procedures as required. 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.

‘One method of enhancing workers’ safety is developing and maintaining an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions,’ said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Story via environmental-expert.com

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