Proposed $88,200 Fine Against O’Connell For Arc Flash Injury

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George Davis
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Another thousand-dollar-fine was issued by OSHA for citing violations on electrical safety and hazardous energy control standards. This time to O’Connell Electric Co., particularly on the May 18 Worker Arc Flash Injury. The incident happened at the North Campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) when O’Connell employees were performing maintenance on 34,500-volt switches while one of the switches had not been de-energized and properly barricaded and tagged to prevent exposure to live electrical parts before they began their work.

“Electricity can injure and kill almost instantly which makes it vital that power sources be de-energized and locked out, and workers be properly trained and equipped before electrical work is performed,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. This statement given by Dube clarifies that de-energization, training and PPE have corresponding electrical standards that any company should comply with. O’Connell was not able to meet these standards which led to the $88,200 fine.

Yearly, OSHA never misses to issue citations on companies who violate safety standards. Injuries and unwanted losses usually are the reasons of these citations. It is the employer’s duty to ensure the welfare of your employees. Safety should always be the top priority. As a message to other employers, OSHA’s regional administrator, Robert Kulick said, “One means of preventing hazardous conditions and the accidents that can result from them is to establish an effective safety and health management system through which employers and employees work together to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards.”

O’Connell Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Let this be a reminder to all other companies to review your safety policies and make sure that they are compliant to state and federal regulations. Review the policies regularly and make sure they are implemented and practiced by all workers. These simple steps can help keep your workplace safe. 

Keep in mind

  • Make sure all employees know the importance of de-energizing (shutting off) electrical systems before performing repairs.
  • Never attempt to handle any wires or conductors until you are absolutely positive that their electrical supply has been shut off.
  • Be sure to lock out and tag out circuits so they cannot be re-energized.
  • Always assume a conductor is dangerous.
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