Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia’

WV: Arc Flash Injures Employee

October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Huntington, WV:  A Huntington city employee received burns Tuesday afternoon from an electrical shock at the floodwall pumping station at the mouth of Four Pole Creek.

Cabell County 911 received word of the incident at 12:55 p.m. A neighbor reported hearing a big bang, and initial reports indicated there had been an explosion.

Crews later revised that report, saying that an electrical incident occurred. The explosion-like sound was linked to electrical arc flash inside of the pump station, according to Huntington Deputy Fire Chief Brian Grieco and Cabell County Emergency Medical Service Director Gordon Merry.

Floodwall Superintendent Steve Riggs said the injured employee was working with two colleagues inside of the pump station at the time.

The unidentified worker received electrical, or flash, burns to his face and hands, Riggs said. He was conscious and walking at the scene.

Riggs explained the building houses electrical equipment and an oil breaker. The facility helps officials control water levels on Four Pole Creek in times of high water.

Mayor Kim Wolfe was among those who visited the hospital to check on the employee’s condition. Wolfe could not be reached for comment.

David Hagley, the city’s public service director, said he did not know exactly what occurred and could not comment until an investigation had been completed.

Story via


Bluefield WV Post Office Fined $280K by OSHA for Electrical Safety Violations

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA — A mail-processing facility in Bluefield has been cited for several workplace safety violations for allegedly exposing workers to electrical hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found multiple violations at the 3010 East Cumberland Road facility in Bluefield. OSHA said employees were working with live electrical parts, leaving them vulnerable to multiple hazards. OSHA said one serious citation was issued for allowing an unauthorized employee to perform inspections at the facility.

The violations allege the Bluefield facility failed to label electrical cabinets, properly train employees, use safety-related work practices when exposed to energized electrical parts and provide proper electrical protective equipment.

Cathy Yarosky, a communications program specialist with the United States Postal Service in Charleston, said the citations will have no impact on the normal customer operations at the Bluefield facility. Yaroksy said the alleged violations occurred in a plant facility where there is no access to customers.

“The postal service places the safety and well being of its employees as a top priority,” Yarosky said. “Bureau of Labor statistics validate that the postal service works twice as safe as other delivery organizations. The National Safety Council recognized more than 5,800 of our employees for driving a million miles without an accident. No other business comes close. The council’s 2009 Safe Driver of the Year award was presented to one of our dedicated employees who drove two million miles accident free.”

Yarosky said efforts to enhance safe electrical work practices are already underway.

“Additionally, in January 2010, the postal service began implementing an electrical work plan to enhance its safe electrical work practices for employees, and the postal service believes this plan meets OSHA standards,” Yarosky said. “The plan provides for electrical risk assessments, training, personal protective equipment (ppe), enhanced safe electrical work practices and insulated tools. As a result of the plan, the Postal Service has already provided 123,000 hours of training for more than 20,000 maintenance employees. We are in the process of distributing more than $2 million in protective safety gear to them.”

OSHA initiated an inspection of the Bluefield facility in May. Inspectors cited the facility with four willful violations carrying a penalty of $280,000 and one serious violation with a penalty of $7,000.

The postal service has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to comply with, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings of the citations, according to the OSHA press release.

Story via

Contractor Killed Working on Allegheny Energy Project in WV

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

WEST VIRGINIA – A man was killed in a Tucker County helicopter accident Saturday. The helicopter was being used to work on Allegheny Energy’s TrAILCo (Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co.) project.

Three others injured in the crash were discharged Sunday after spending the night at Ruby Memorial Hospital.

West Virginia State Police identified the three as Ryan Joseph Lang, 31, of Portage, Ind.; Jeffrey M. McKay, 34, from Olive Hill, Ky.; and Robert A. Rogers, 40, of Dacula, Ga.

The fourth person was pronounced dead at the scene, Sgt. J.L. Clay said. The name of the 51-yearold man is being withheld until his next of kin have been notified.

The helicopter, owned by Winco Power Line Services of Aurora, Ore., was working for PAR Services of Kansas City, Miss., on one of the large towers installed as part of Allegheny Energy’s TrAILCo project. Three of those on board are PAR Services employees, Clay said.

The firm is building a 500-kilovolt transmission line from near Loudin, Va., across West Virginia to a new substation in Mount Morris, Pa.

Clay said in a news release that he and TFC M.S. Wetzel, both of the Parsons Detachment, answered a 10:30 a.m. Saturday call to a helicopter crash off Lead Mine Road, near Thomas, Tucker County.

The helicopter was being used to pick up the subjects, who were at the top of a large metal powerline tower, he said. The helicopter apparently maneuvered underneath the suspended wires and may have struck the wires, causing the crash, he said.

Questions about the accident were referred to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Authority, who are handling the investigation.

A Par Electrical representative referred all questions to Allegheny Energy.

The helicopter crash should not affect construction of Allegheny Energy’s TrAIL high-power electric line in that area, Allegheny Energy spokesman Doug Colafella said Sunday.

He confirmed that the helicopter was flying for a subcontractor on the TrAIL project, and said it had a pilot and three line workers on board.

“I want to make it clear that this was not an Allegheny Energy helicopter, and these were not Allegheny Energy employees,” Colafella said.

“I have no details as to how the crash occurred,” Colafella said. “I just know that its a very tragic accident. We’re very upset this occurred.

“This is a really important project for our company. Safety has been a commitment. We emphasize safety in every aspect, from the most dangerous to most routine.”

Quality Inn in WV Closed Due to Electrical Fire & Explosion

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA — A stubborn fire in an electrical junction box in a utility room at the Quality Inn outside Harpers Ferry will keep parts of the facility closed for at least a day until repairs can be made, Scott Biller, assistant chief of the Friendship Fire Department, said Tuesday.

There were no injuries as a result of the fire. As many as 20 employees and hotel guests were evacuated from the hotel/restaurant on U.S. 340 south of Harpers Ferry.

Firefighters tried unsuccessfully twice to put out the flames with dry powder. They gave up because the current continued to arc violently, Biller said. He pulled his crew away from the fire scene moments before an explosion rocked the utility room.

Firefighters waited until a crew from Allegheny Power arrived to cut the main power supply before the flames could be doused, Biller said.

Additional units were called in as a precaution, he said.

No damage estimate was given.

Story via The Herald-Mail

WV Post Office Facing $212K in Fines for Electrical Safety Violations

October 16, 2010 2 comments

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA — The U.S. Postal Service said it implemented a plan last January to improve safe electrical work practices at all its facilities.

However, an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that began in April showed that workers at the Huntington Postal Service processing facility on Virginia Avenue had been exposed to potential electrical hazards. As a result the agency is proposing a fine of $212,500.

Prentice Kline, area director of OSHA’s Charleston office, said the inspection was a result of a complaint filed to the agency earlier this year.

He said the electrical safety inspection began in April, but it took six months to complete the inspection, review the outcome and determine what action would be taken. The Postal Service was issued citations for three willful violations.

In a release, Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels said the citations “reflect the Postal Service’s failure to equip its workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to safely work with live electrical parts.” He also said the Postal Service knew which training was needed but didn’t provide it to employees.

Kline said the Postal Service has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, meet with the OSHA director or contest the citations.

“The Postal Service is in no way facing criminal charges,” Kline said. “This is a civil penalty, which is meant to be a deterrent. The effect of these citations is meant to encourage compliance with the OSHA Act.”

In a statement Thursday, the Postal Service defended its safety record, and said it will review OSHA’s concerns and make the necessary adjustments.

In its release, OSHA reported that The Postal Service failed “to utilize lockout procedures that prevent electrical parts from being inadvertently energized.”

Kline and The Postal Service confirmed that no employees had been injured as a result of the violations. However, Kline said, if an employee were to be injured at this point, The Postal Service could face additional inspections and violations.

Kline said while the standards on who gets inspected and when are complicated, he said they can be broken down into two basic criteria.

The first sort of inspection is what Kline called a “strategic” inspection, which is conducted at a facility that had a very high-risk and potential injury factor, such as a sawmill. He said this sort of inspection is executed on a fairly regular basis.

Kline said the second sort of inspection is a response-based inspection, which is what occurred with the Postal Service facility. He said lower-risk facilities are inspected regularly but not as often as facilities that undergo strategic inspections. He said that anytime there is a complaint, an injury or a fatality, OSHA will inspect the facility in question.

Story Via Herald Dispatch

WV Fire Department Burns Down Due to Electrical Fault

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

SISSONVILLE, WEST VIRGINIA – Investigators have ruled the blaze that destroyed the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department’s  main station an accident.

Paul Gill, from the state Fire Marshal’s Office, says the blaze started with an electrical fault. But television station WCHS reports Sunday that Gill says investigators are still looking for the fire’s exact source.

The blaze destroyed the station Friday and the department has moved to temporary quarters.

Assistant Chief Tom Miller says the department’s insurance won’t cover all the damage. The policy covers up to $500,000, but Miller says there’s been at least $1.25 million in damage.

Story via The Charleston Gazette

WV Student Killed, Others Injured from Electrical Shock while Boating

June 1, 2010 2 comments

ROANOKE, WEST VIRGINIA – A Bridgeport High School student is dead after a freak accident at Stonewall Jackson Lake.

Fifteen-year old Michael Cunningham drowned at the lake Saturday evening as he was attempting to climb out of the water and onto a boat.   DNR investigators say one teenager had already climbed onto the boat and when Cunningham touched the boat’s ladder he received an electrical shock causing him to fall back into the waters.   He drowned.  

A third teenager, a female, was in the water behind Cunningham and also received the shock. She was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.  

Authorities recovered Cunningham’s body in 34-feet of water about 9:30 Saturday night.   The cause of the mishap remains under investigation.    Conservation Officers are awaiting the autopsy to determine if it was the shock or drowning that killed the teen.   What caused the electrical shock is still not known.

Story Via WV Metro News