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OSHA Fines Massachusetts Contractor $81,000 for Arc Flash in Andover

Interstate Electrical Services, an electrical contractor in North Billerica, was cited by the U.S. Departments of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an arc flash blast at an Andover building construction site on November 23, 2011. Two workers were seriously burned when a piece of equipment made contact with an energized piece of electrical panel while they were installing an electrical service. This contact resulted in the arc flash blast.

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OSHA determined that Interstate Electrical Services did not properly guard the energized electrical panel to prevent workers from coming into contact with it. Due to the lack of protection, OSHA issued a willful citation to Interstate Electrical Services along with a $71,000 fine. OSHA defines a willful violation as, “one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.”

The contractor was also issued two other serious citations, with an additional $11,000 in fines. These citations were issued because there were other electrical hazards at the worksite, which included a damaged power cord and an energized electrical with that also was not protected. OSHA defines a serious violation as one, “when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.”

Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA’s area director in Andover, said, “Electricity can injure or kill workers in seconds. It is imperative for employers to ensure all necessary safeguards are in place and in use to prevent incidents like this from occurring.”

The workers were taken to Lawrence General Hospital and the worker with the most serious injuries was transferred to a Boston hospital. The workers suffered aburns and injuries to their face, chest and hands, but at this time both workers have recovered from their wounds and have returned to work.

Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.

Cited Sources:

US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites North Billerica, Mass., contractor
for violations following arc blast at Andover worksite that injured worker
Interstate Electrical Services faces $81,000 in fine
, OSHA Regional News Release, June 6, 2012

Company faces $81K OSHA fines in Andover electrical blast, TMCnet.com, June 08, 2012

 

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