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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).

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State Government Launching Electrical Safety Campaign

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Perth, Austrailia – ALMOST 30 West Australians, including eight children, have died from electrocution in the past 17 years.

This very sombre statistic has prompted the State Government and Energy Safety to launch a new campaign to prevent people from being electrocuted in their homes and workplaces.

Starting from today, a television, radio and newspaper advertising campaign will encourage homeowners and businesses in pre-2000 homes to have Residual Current Devices (RCDs) fitted.

An RCD is an electrical safety device fitted to the main meter box or switchboard of a house or business and can detect any imbalance in the electrical current or leakage to earth and immediately cuts the electricity supply to avoid electrocution.

In the past 17 years, 29 people – including eight children – have been fatally electrocuted in WA homes.

Twenty-three of these deaths could have been prevented had RCDs been fitted.

Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said today the campaign would be aimed at improving the take-up of RCDs in West Australian homes.

“The purpose of this campaign is to say to people, don’t wait until you have to sell your home to have and RCD fitted,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It is a proactive and important step in making sure that West Australians and their children are safeguarded in their own home.”

It had been compulsory since 2000 for all newly built homes and businesses to have two RCDs fitted as part of the initial electrical installation.

The State Government introduced regulations to require all homes for sale to have two RCDs fitted before the property could be sold.

Seniors who install RCDs in their home could also be eligible for a rebate of up to $200.

Energy Safety executive director Ken Bowron said about 20 to 30 per cent of West Australian homes were fitted with RCDs.

“Certainly by making them mandatory for new homes…we’ll be heading towards 70 per cent (covered) over 15 years,” Mr Bowron said.

“But we’re unhappy that that’s not fast enough so we are trying to get people to put them in voluntarily earlier.”

Story via PerthNow.com.au

Transformer Explosion Leads to 3 Deaths in CA

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

UPDATED INFORMATION  РA 17-year-old girl witnessed part of the electrocution of three family members, killed Friday morning by a fallen power line in their San Bernardino backyard, a fire captain said.

The girl told investigators that her stepfather, Steven Vego, 44, went to the backyard to inspect some small fires caused by the downed line and fanned by high winds, while her mother, Sharon Vego, 43, went to the frontyard to try to put out a possible fire there, officials said.

Investigators said they believe that Sharon Vego then heard a loud explosion from behind the house and hurried to the backyard, where she found her husband and son. They believe she was electrocuted as she tried to help them.

Firefighters found Sharon Vego on top of her son, Jonathan Cole, 21, and her husband lying nearby. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters had to wait about 15 minutes for Southern California Edison crews to arrive and cut power to the fallen line before they could reach the victims, said San Bernardino city Fire Dept. Capt. Mike Bilheimer.

The 17-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother were in the house, and the girl, who saw part of the accident, called 911 about 5:46 a.m., Bilheimer said.

The Fire Department received several calls early Friday morning from residents in the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue reporting downed power lines, fires and power outages.

San Bernardino Police Lt. Jarrod Burguan said winds were gusting up to 40 mph in the area Thursday night, and investigators strongly believe that the winds caused the fallen line.

Southern California Edison was leading the investigation. About 200 homes in the neighborhood were still without power Friday morning

San Bernadino, CA – A transformer explosion during high winds preceded this morning’s electrocution of three people in the backyard of their San Bernardino home.

“They heard the explosion, and they went out to look,” said Battalion Chief Paul Drasil. “There was a small fire in the front yard and a small fire in the backyard.”

Fire crews were summoned at 5:47 a.m. to the beige single-story stucco home along the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue in the Northpark section of San Bernardino. First responders were told to expect a possible electrocution with power lines down.

A family of five lives in the home, Drasil said. Two were unharmed.

The explosion knocked out power to 2,700 customers, according to initial reports.

There was also damage at a house two doors away.

“One (power) line that broke fell into the pool,” said resident Janet Vilchis. “It made a big old explosion, and it ruptured one of the water lines.

“Water was coming from underneath the house.”

Names of the dead have not been released. San Bernardino police Sgt. John Diaz said the coroner has been notified.

Story via Richard Brooks pe.com

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