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Posts Tagged ‘power line’

Wisconsin: OSHA Fines near $500,000 for Highway Technologies Inc.

Wisconsin: On Sept. 17, 2012, a worker employed by Highway Technologies Inc. was fatally injured while working with equipment that came into contact with overhead power lines during highway work in western Wisconsin. OSHA issued 10 safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $448,000 and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Highway Technologies Inc. was performing guardrail and sign installation for a 13-mile stretch of I-94 near Menomonie, Wis., under contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation when the incident occurred.

“Highway Technologies failed to protect its workers from serious electrocution hazards,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Multiple instances of the same violation over a period of time clearly demonstrate a willful failure to comply with basic safety and health standards. Employers must take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment.”

OSHA issued citations for six willful violations of failing to ensure that parts of the equipment being operated were not within 10 feet of a power line, exposing workers to electrical shock and electrocution hazards. These citations also include instances of failing to ensure that any part of the machinery was not within 6 feet of an overhead power line while the machinery was traveling beneath the power lines.

Four serious violations also cited include failing to identify electrical work zones, determine if any part of the equipment being operated would be closer than 20 feet of a power line, train each worker on safe clearance distances from power lines and evaluate that each employee understood the training and risks of working near overhead power lines.

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Highway Technologies Inc. has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure future compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Houston-based Highway Technologies Inc. employs about 1,500 workers in 13 states installing highway guardrails, crash attenuators, barrier walls and signage. Prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2007, resulting in citations for nine serious violations. One of these inspections was initiated based on employee injuries sustained from contacting an overhead power line while installing a highway sign.

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

Story via ehstoday.com

 

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BC: 18 Year Old Electrocuted

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Armstrong, BC: The workplace death of an Armstrong teenager in 2011 has officially been declared accidental.  Provincial coroner Andrew Cave reported that Cullen James Rowan, 18, died of electrocution while at work in Armstrong on Sept. 22, 2011.  Cave said Rowan had completed preparing a scissor lift and moving it to the back of the work yard where there were six high-voltage electrical power lines and a neutral conductor line running parallel with the rear fence.  “Normal practice would have been to raise the lift to its full height using the ground control panel,” said Cave in his three-page report. “For an undetermined reason, Mr. Rowan had raised the lift while on its platform (using a hand-held control).”

A witness to the incident saw Rowan on the elevated platform on the lift, and stated that “it appeared as if he was moving his right arm in a defensive manner.”  “There was a loud bang and a bright flash, and Mr. Rowan collapsed onto the platform of the lift,” said Cave.  Two other people witnessed the accident, staff was alerted and 911 was called.  Cave said an exam of the power lines showed Rowan had come into close proximity of one of the 25,000 volt distribution lines, and that a flashover (arc flash) – an electrical arc passing through the air conducting through him and the lift to ground – had occurred.   “A distance of approximately 2.5 centimetres from Mr. Rowan’s hand to the line would have been sufficient for the electricity to flashover,” said Cave.

WorkSafeBC investigated and discovered Rowan had been employed at the yard for slightly more than two months. His training was primarily given through verbal direction as each new task was encountered. “Interviews with other employees indicated that there was a general understanding of the dangers surrounding the raising of machinery near the power lines,” said Cave. The required minimum distance between any object and the power lines was three meters.  One operator positioned below the power lines told investigators that there were no visual reference points to establish how close the power lines were, making a misjudgment of distance possible.

WorkSafeBC has provided direction to the employer in regard to increasing training and awareness of hazards.

Story via vernonmorningstar.com

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

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

MD: Arc Flash Burns Contractor

October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Landover, MD: A contractor was severely burned while repairing a Landover warehouse where a roof collapsed in June.

Shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, an arc flash or an electrical arc burned a man, believed to be in his 50s, while he was working on repairs in an underground vault at the warehouse at 1501 Cabin Branch Drive in Landover, according to Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesman Mark Brady.

The man, who suffered second-degree burns to his upper body, was conscious and breathing at the scene, and was transported to a local hospital, according to Brady.

The roof of the facility collapsed on June 28 while more than a dozen people were inside. One worker’s body was found in the rubble days later.

Story via washingtonexaminer.com

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MI: Arc Creates Underground Fire

October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Troy, MI:  Noise from a large explosion startled residents on Fifth Avenue between Federal and Jacob streets late Thursday afternoon. City of Troy Fire Department officials later said the explosion was caused by an electrical fire underground.

“We were sitting out here talking when we heard a sound like something blew up,” said resident Ida Pryer. “I saw smoke coming out from the sewer but I thought it was coming from the car.”

Another Fifth Avenue resident, Debra, said she saw the manhole cover come up from the ground and land in front of a parked car. She said she immediately called 911 and the Troy Police Department.

Battalion Chief Ray Davis said he was informed by National Grid that the isolated incident began when an arc in a 34,500 volt power line underground caused an electrical fire which forced the manhole cover to be lifted off the ground. The arc shorted out and kept the problem from spreading to other areas.

“It’s unusual in the City of Troy but not so unusual based on the infrastructure of the older cities where some of the electrical lines are older and having issues,” Davis said, adding it is also unusual to see manhole covers flying around.

Davis said the scene would be turned over to National Grid.

Story via troyrecord.com