Employee Burned in Arc Flash… Steel plant failed to provide and ensure the use of proper Arc Flash PPE. Proposed penalty: $147,000!
An electric technician at the Republic Steel Corp. steel manufacturing plant in Buffalo New York was removing wiring from a fan motor in an overhead crane on October 16, 2014, when an ungrounded electrical conductor touched a grounded surface causing an arc flash. The electric technician sustained third degree burns on her hand and first degree burns on her face.
An investigation by the Buffalo Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Republic Steel failed to provide and ensure the use of effective face and hand protection by its employees.
“These injuries were avoidable. Republic Steel has a responsibility to make sure that its electric technicians are properly trained, equipped with and using personal protective equipment to protect from arc flash. In this case, that would include a face shield and rubber insulating gloves. The company should be especially aware of this, since OSHA cited Republic Steel earlier in 2014 for similar hazards at its Lorain, Ohio, facility,” said Michael Scime, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo.
As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Republic Steel for two repeat violations, with proposed penalties of $70,000 each for the lack of hand and face protection. The steel manufacturer was also cited for one serious violation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to protect employees against contact with energized electrical equipment. Total proposed penalties are $147,000.
The citations can be viewed here*.
Republic Steel has contested its citations and proposed penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.