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Posts Tagged ‘maintenance’

Florida Nonprofit facing $228K fine

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Pensacola, FL: OSHA is proposing $228,600 in fines for Teen Challenge of Florida Inc., a nonprofit rehabilitation program, after the agency said it found 25 safety and health violations at the organization’s facilities in Pensacola, Fla.

The Pensacola Teen Challenge Men’s Center says its mission is to help men 18 and older “who are struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism and other life-controlling issues.” The organization, which is part of Teen Challenge International, runs a screen-printing operation, a detail shop, a wood shop and two thrift stores, according to a report on the website of WEAR ABC 3 in northwest Florida.

OSHA said it initiated the July 2013 inspection after receiving a complaint alleging safety and health hazards.

“This employer willfully disregarded worker safety by exposing workers to amputation hazards,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville, Fla. “The hazards found during our inspection must be eliminated from this workplace immediately.”

Three willful violations, with $162,000 in penalties, allegedly involve Teen Challenge exposing workers to amputation hazards by not providing machine guarding on the hand-fed ripsaws, the cutting heads of the routers and the abrasive wheels on the grinding wheel, according to OSHA.

Eighteen serious safety and health violations, with $66,600 in penalties, include allegedly failing to:

  •                               Provide workers first aid training in case of an emergency.
  •                               Provide a suitable eyewash facility.
  •                               Close unused openings in boxes, raceways, cabinets and equipment cases.
  •                               Have uniform step heights on a standard stairway and keep exit routes unobstructed.

The employer also exposed workers to numerous instances where the machines had no guarding, several electrical deficiencies were present and various tripping hazards were observed, according to OSHA.

OSHA cited Teen Challenge for four other-than-serious violations, stemming from the organization’s alleged failure to: illuminate exit signs; certify forklift operators as competent to operate powered industrial trucks safely; establish a respiratory protection program; and have forklift nameplates and markings in place and in legible condition. No monetary penalties were assigned for the other-than-serious violations.

Teen Challenge has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply or contest OSHA’s findings.

Story Via: EHStoday.com

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IN: Parker Hannifin Maintenance Worker Electrocuted

March 21, 2013 Leave a comment

LIGONIER, IN:  A worker at a northern Indiana plant has died after officials say he was apparently electrocuted while doing maintenance work inside the plant.

Ligonier police detective Sgt. Gary Cox says 55-year-old Mark A. Werbianskyj was found unconscious at Parker Hannifin’s Ligonier plant late Monday night by co-workers who tried to revive him. Medics later pronounced him dead at the scene.

Noble County Coroner Joan Cripe tells the Journal Gazette  that an autopsy was completed Tuesday, but official results were not available.

Cripes says it’s presumed that the Elkhart man was electrocuted. He was performing maintenance work at the time he collapsed at the plant.

Story via southbendtribune.com

PA: Arc Flash Victim Recovering

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Bensalem, PA:  A man critically burned last month in an electrical explosion at a Bensalem carpet business is recovering at Temple University’s Burn Center.

Bensalem Battalion Chief Rob Sponheimer is not releasing the man’s name, but said he was burned over 60 percent of his body in the Jan. 17 fire at Adams Carpet, off Street Road near Hulmeville Road.

An employee of the carpet business was also burned, but not as severely, as he helped to put the flames out on the contractor with a fire extinguisher.

Sponheimer said the contractor was working inside a three-phase electrical panel when one of his tools came in contact with the back of the panel, causing an arc-flash.

The arc-flash ignited the contractor’s clothing and hair.

“These types of arc-flashes can reach temperatures above 5,000 degrees, have a great amount of energy associated with them and have a blinding flash and deafening noise,” Sponheimer said.

An arc-flash occurs when electrical insulation or isolation between conductors is broken or can no longer withstand the applied voltage, according to The National Fire Protection Association.

Sponheimer did not say if the carpet store employee was still hospitalized.

Story via phillyburbs.com

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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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Electrical Safety on Construction Sites

January 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Construction business owners know that having healthy and hard-working employees is the key to running a successful operation. No matter what the construction project at hand, there are often many types of electrical equipment being used on a daily basis, which means worker safety is more important than ever. Your construction team is invaluable to your company, and enacting proper training and safety protocols are the keys to preventing injury and maintaining highly productive workers.

Electrical Hazards on Construction Sites

The statistics are shocking

Many fatal accidents occur from careless mistakes but are very easily preventable. Common injuries occurring from electrical related accidents include blisters, burns, heart failure, nerve or tissue damage, and internal organ damage.

According to the National Institution of Health, several thousand people are injured and up to 1,000 people die from electric shocks while on the job. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that electrocution is the second leading cause of worker fatalities on construction sites. Also, OSHA standards regarding electrical wiring and systems are ranked in the top 10 most frequent citations.

OSHA Construction eTool: Electrical Incidents

Common reasons for electric-related injuries

  • Improper installation of extension and flexible cords
  • Lacking ground-fault protection
  • Making contact with power lines
  • Outdated or misuse of equipment

Prevention is key

Preventing your employees from getting injured is a task that every business owner should prioritize, especially in a construction environment where safety accidents can lead to severe injuries or worse. Many companies run training programs on how to test circuits, make sure that wires are not exposed, proper methods of carrying power tools, and avoiding using aluminum ladders or tools around high-voltage areas. Following guidelines can significantly reduce the number of accidents on the job and maintain a safe work environment.

Endangering the health and safety of your workers is a risk you should never take. In the end, your employees will thank you for ensuring that their safety and well-being is a priority for your construction business.

Story via forconstructionpros.com

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TX: Vann Energy fined $246,000 by OSHA, Repeat Electrical Violations

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Nixon, TX: U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Vann Energy Services LLC in Nixon, Texas, with 13 safety and health violations including two willful and three repeat for exposing workers to flash fires and other hazards. Proposed penalties total $246,000.

OSHA’s Austin Area Office opened an inspection after two workers were injured by a fire that occurred in an oil and gas field tank.

Inspectors found that the employer had failed to ensure that the air inside the tank was tested for flammable or toxic materials before providing employees with electrical equipment that is capable of causing a potentially flammable environment to ignite.

The repeat violations include failing to provide eye and face protection, communicate chemical hazard information to workers and protect flexible electric cords from damage.

A repeat violation exists 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. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in August 2011.

One of the willful violations involves failing to implement a respiratory protection program that includes an evaluation of respiratory hazards, medical evaluations for workers, fit testing, training, and the proper means to clean and store the respirators.

The other violation involves failing to implement a permit-required confined space entry program that includes atmospheric testing, proper written permits, a qualified attendant and rescue plans.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Eight serious violations include failing to ensure that electrical equipment such as a portable lamp is approved for hazardous locations, maintain electrical conductors and cords in a safe operating condition, train workers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, consult workers on confined space entry procedures and maintain fire extinguishers in a proper working condition.

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 company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Austin or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Story via insurancejournal.com

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GA: NTSB Calls for Increased Electrical Safety Training

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Gerogia: In its annual list of “most wanted safety improvements,” the NTSB on Wednesday said general aviation pilots and their passengers too often are “dying due to human error and inadequate training.” The safety board investigates about 1,500 GA accidents per year, with about 400 fatalities, and sees “similar accident circumstances time after time.” Improved education and training, and screening for risky behavior, are critical to improving GA safety, the board said. GA maintenance workers also should be required to undergo recurrent training, the board said, to keep them current with the best practices for inspecting and maintaining electrical systems, circuit breakers, and aged wiring.

The NTSB noted that GA has the highest accident rate within civil aviation — six times higher than for Part 135 operators and about 40 times higher than for transport-category operators. Moreover, while the overall GA accident rate has remained about the same over the last 10 years, the fatal accident rate has increased by 25 percent. Pilots should be trained to use all available sources for weather information, the NTSB said, including the internet and satellites. Also, they should train on flight simulators that are specific to the avionics they will be flying. Also, the NTSB said FAA tests should cover the use of weather, use of instruments, and use of glass cockpits.

Earl Weener, a member of the safety board with extensive experience in the aviation industry, spoke with AVweb‘s Mary Grady after Wednesday’s news conference to provide a deeper look into the NTSB’s process and their suggestions for improving GA safety.

Story via avweb.com.

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WA: Electrical Surge on Docked Boat Motor, Lockout Tagout Procedures in Question

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Bainbridge Island, WA:  A massive charge of electricity accidentally entered a motor under maintenance on board the M/V Walla Walla on Sunday while the vessel was docked at the Washington State Ferries (WSF) maintenance facility on Bainbridge Island, known as Eagle Harbor.

No one was injured in the electrical accident, yet a source with detailed knowledge of the event told the KING 5 Investigators that people could have easily died.

“In all my years in the maritime industry I’ve never seen anything like this. It sent chills up my spine because of the potential to kill somebody. I can’t put enough emphasis on how close they came to killing someone,” said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

On Friday the WA State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced four separate entities are investigating to get to the bottom of what happened.

“Due to the severity of the damage, the investigation has been elevated to a third party contractor, Cadick Corporation. They will be assisted by WSDOT ferries division’s senior port engineers, safety systems managers, and electrical engineers. WSDOT has also reached out to the Department of Labor and Industries and the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance to ensure that all employee safety requirements were met. Detailed results of the investigation are expected within two to three weeks,” said Marta Coursey, Washington State Ferries Director of Communications.

The accident caused huge chunks of steel and copper to melt, as well as holes to be blasted through what is known as the commutator portion of the motor. A commutator provides the power to turn the shaft and propellers that ultimately move the ferry.

“It looks like it exploded,” said the source. “It has chunks blown out that look like someone took an ice cream scoop and scooped it out.”

Ferries officials issued a press release on Friday saying initial findings show no actual explosion occured.

“Immediately following the incident, the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division started an internal investigation per standard protocol. Preliminary findings indicate that there was no explosion,” said Coursey.

“This is a serious incident and we’re going to do a very thorough and detailed investigation into what happened,” said David Moseley, WSDOT assistant secretary, ferries division. “We hope to return the vessel to service as soon as possible.”

WSF is working with General Electric to ascertain if a spare drive motor owned by the ferry system which is currently stored in a warehouse. If testing shows that part can be used, sources tell KING the Walla Walla would most likely be out of service for four to six additional months. If a new commutator has to be built by General Electric, the Walla Walla could be out of service for up to two years.

The vessel is part of the Jumbo Class of boats and is one of the largest in the fleet. It has been out of service for several months while undergoing maintenance, including a new paint job, at Vigor Industrial Shipyard in Everett. After the stint at Todd, the boat was towed to Eagle Harbor for additional procedures before going back into service. One of the jobs was to clean out the commutators due to excess paint, or “overspray,” which accidentally entered into the machinery.

That’s when things went dangerously wrong. According to two sources most likely human error is to blame. KING 5 has learned this type of unexpected release of hazardous electricity would not happen if employees performing the maintenance would have employed the legally mandated safety procedures to prevent an electrical explosion or electrocution.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has termed the procedure “Lockout/Tagout.” When work is being performed in an electrical environment such as that, Lockout/Tagout procedures ensure the machinery is turned off and disconnected from its energy source. A padlock is used to make sure the power cannot be turned back on. Experts say the process takes about five minutes.

Ferry managers would not confirm nor deny that proper safety protocols were not in place prior to the event.

“On Sunday, November 4, the propulsion drive motor on the Walla Walla failed.  This failure left the vessel inoperable until the propulsion drive motor or its components can either be repaired or replaced.  We are conducting a full investigation into the incident and probable causes per standard WSF protocol.  We are also working with the manufacturer to trouble-shoot the problem,” said Coursey.

The motor that was left in an unsecured state is located in what is called Motor Room #1 of the Walla Walla. Sources told us that on Sunday an employee on the other end of the boat turned the power on inside Motor Room #2. That would be okay if proper safety steps had been taken. Instead, massive amounts of electricity traveled across the boat from Motor Room #2 to Motor Room #1. That caused the commutator to overheat, portions of it to melt, and pieces of it to pop out. Fortunately no one was working inside the unsecured Motor Room #1 drive motor.

According to OSHA the event could have had catastrophic results.  “Employees can be seriously or fatally injured if machinery they service or maintain unexpectedly energizes, starts up, or releases stored energy. OSHA’s standard on the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)…spells out the steps employers must take to prevent accidents associated with hazardous energy,” wrote OSHA Assistant Secretary John Henshaw, in a memo outlining the Lockout/Tagout requirements.

The Walla Walla is a relief boat in the system. It can carry 2,000 passengers and 188 vehicles. It typically sails on the Seattle/Bremerton run or the Edmonds/Kingston run.

Ferry managers said they are working to get the boat back to work and that service will hopefully not be interrupted..

“Our current estimates are that the vessel will be out of service for the next few months while crews work to repair the issue.  There will be vessel moves throughout the system as we work to keep service levels maintained and we are working to return the Walla Walla to service as soon as possible,” said Coursey.

Story via nwcn.com

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Australia: Apprentice in Hospital, Fall after Shock

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Canberra, Australia: A 20-year-old electrical apprentice is in hospital after falling five metres at a worksite in Canberra’s south.  The man was up a ladder conducting maintenance work on a garage roller door when he received an electric shock from a live wire on Wednesday afternoon.  He fell five metres to the ground and sustained serious head injuries.  Canberra Hospital says the man is currently stable but in a critical condition.

The man was working for a company contracted by the ACT Government to carry out maintenance on the site at the old bus depot on Dundas Street in Phillip. The site is being leased by a car detailing company.  ACT Government has shut down the work site. The accident happened just hours after the construction union staged a rally in Civic calling on the ACT Government to improve worker safety on construction sites.  Police and WorkSafe ACT are investigating. Work safety commissioner Mark McCabe says it is an extremely serious incident.  “Some people have said to me ‘will it become more serious if the condition of the worker worsens?’,” he said.

“It will from a human point of view. From our point of view it’s a serious incident already. It could very easily have led to a much worse circumstance than it is as the moment. It’s up there with the highest of incidents.” The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is seeking more details about the accident. Mick Koppie says the union understands the apprentice was working alone. “It needs to be investigated along those lines,” he said.

“I understood he received an electric shock and then fell to the floor below him and landed on his head.”  WorkSafe says that will form part of their investigation. “What is happening there with that wiring, and why was it in that state?” Mr McCabe said. “I’m certainly concerned at the things our inspectors are finding, I think it will become a complex investigation.”

By law all apprentices must be supervised while performing live electrical work.  There have been four fatal accidents on Canberra work sites since last December.

Submissions closed yesterday for an inquiry into workplace safety set up by the ACT Government.

The apprentice was employed by a contractor for the Government.

Story via ww.abc.net,au