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News OSHA, NFPA 70E and IEEE concerning electrical safety in the workplace

Now, more than ever, it is imperative for building owners and business operators to follow the regulations set out by OSHA, NFPA 70E and IEEE concerning electrical safety in the workplace. I found this article in the current issue of Electrical Construction & Maintenance:

The Iowa Division of Labor Services Occupational Safety and Health Bureau has cited three entities in an arc flash explosion last July in Sibley, Iowa. I-OSHA says the accident happened when workers were switching over electric lines at Timewell Drainage. After its investigation, I-OSHA cited City of Sibley Electric Department, Timewell, and Current Electric of Sibley.

KIWA Radio reported that the issue occurred when workers were installing new electrical wiring to an 800A interior panelboard. I-OSHA said work was being performed while the wiring was energized, and people were allowed in the immediate area without personal protective equipment (PPE). After installation of wiring to the panelboard, the employer was confirming that proper function of the equipment had been achieved. Lock and tagout was not applied, ensuring that the equipment was not energized prior to installation of the panel cover. The reportt stated that people were in the immediate area and were exposed to an arc flash and/or arc blast, and life-threatening injuries were sustained.

Five people were sent to the hospital.

According to I-OSHA and the radio report, Current Electric should have conducted frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, and equipment. Current Electric supposedly did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the applicable regulations.

Last fall, Timewell Drainage was cited for not instructing their employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and for employees not wearing PPE. The City of Sibley Electric Department was cited because controls deactivated during the course of work on energized or de-energized equipment or circuits were not tagged on the worksite involving the energizing and deenergizing of a transformer with an incoming line voltage of thousands of volts.

Let’s all be safe out there…..