Posts Tagged ‘Switchgear’

Two NJ Men Burned in Electrical Accident When Power by PSE&G Restored

May 17, 2010 5 comments

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY – An electrician doing work at a Downtown Jersey City high-rise was rushed to the hospital yesterday with life-threatening second- and third-degree burns after power was restored to an electrical switch he thought was turned off, officials said.

Police were called to Pershing Plaza at 95 Christopher Columbus Drive at 12:06 a.m. and found the 47-year-old electrician lying face down on the first floor, reports said.

EMS rushed him and a 33-year-old electrician, who suffered minor burns to his left forearm, to the trauma center at Jersey City Medical Center, reports said.

But the burns to the 47-year-old were so severe, he was airlifted to the Burn Unit at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston at about 3 a.m., Fire Director Armando Roman said.

The 47-year-old was listed in critical condition yesterday.

Both men work for Scholes Electric & Communication in Piscataway, reports said.

The less injured victim told police that his co-worker was changing a switch after checking that power had been shut down for the work.   He said that while working on the switch, PSE&G restored power, reports said.

At that point, there was a large flash followed by an electrical fire that burned both victims, reports said.

David Hollenbeck, a spokesman for PSE&G, said that the cause of the accident is under investigation but a PSE&G crew working with the building engineer was advised that the contractors had completed their work and began to restore power.

When a PSE&G employee heard a flash he stopped restoring power immediately, Hollenbeck said.

Scholes Electric could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Police have notified the state Occupational Health and Safety Administration about the incident, reports said.

Story Via Jersey City News

NY Metro Worker Receives $1.1M for Electrical Accident

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

BRONX, NY – Jim Deacon knew his work testing the electrical system for Metro-North was dangerous, but when he suffered severe burns in a high-voltage explosion, he didn’t expect the railroad to blame him for it.

The Oct. 28, 2006, accident, in which 700 volts of current exploded, severely burning Deacon’s left hand and forearm, has been settled with the commuter railroad admitting fault and awarding him $1.1 million.

The case was settled last week in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

“This whole hand was black with skin hanging off of it,” Deacon, 51, said Monday, showing a hand that looks only mildly scarred after three surgeries.

Deacon was working on a malfunctioning switch box next to the electrified third rail in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, N.Y., when he took off his rubber gloves to thread a small wire. What he didn’t know was that a cable from the third rail to a motor inside the box had detached and the motor housing was electrified. When the wire touched the housing, the arc created the explosion.

Deacon’s lawyer, Charles Goetsch of New Haven, said when they brought the case to Metro-North, they found the detached cable had been removed and management allegedly denied a video taken the day after the accident existed.

However, Deacon was slipped a bootlegged copy, which showed a supervisor telling a worker who wasn’t wearing gloves to remove a tool from the switch box, in violation of safety rules.

Deacon, who started working for the railroad in 1980, said it’s standard practice not to turn off the power when making such repairs. Complaining would result in being disciplined “or you’d just be made a pariah. … They’ll just start giving you a hard time somehow, they’ll make you miserable.”

An analysis of the accident by railroad safety consultant James Sottile of Southbridge, Mass., concluded, “It was standard practice in the Metro North Test Department not to de-energize the 700 volt power to the (switch) box when performing that troubleshooting repair.”

Goetsch pointed out Metro-North has procedures that require power be turned off before working on high-voltage equipment and that regular inspections be performed, but it didn’t appear the switch box had been checked in years. “You eliminate the risk entirely if you follow those procedures,” he said.

Marjorie Anders, spokeswoman for Metro-North, confirmed the railroad admitted liability in the case, calling Deacon “a longtime employee who has now been fairly compensated for his injury.”

Anders said that under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, blame must be assigned to one or both parties and there is no workers’ compensation process on the railroad, making legal action automatic.

Story Via New Haven Register

Arkansas Electrical Worker Stumbles into Energized Switchgear

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

FAYETTEVILLE, AR. –Officials with Ozarks Electric say an employee is still recovering following electrical contact.

Safety officials from both Ozarks Electric and Arkansas Electric recently completed their investigation of the incident that occurred April 15 in a new subdivision near the Farmington Elementary school.

Evidence shows the contact occurred while the worker was applying cable-pulling lubricant to a conduit. He then lost his balance and stumbled into the energized switchgear. A spokeswoman for Ozarks Electric said it was a routine procedure turned tragic.

Emergency responders from the Fayetteville Fire Department arrived on the scene within minutes of the accident and the victim was transported to Washington Regional Medical Center.

Story Via