Training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Could Have Saved a Life

According to OSHA, in November 2014, the father of a young daughter was testing transformers when he was electrocuted. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive. As reported by Sandy Smith in EHS Today magazine, OSHA investigators found that this death might have been prevented if his employer had supplied adequate personal protective equipment, followed safety procedures and provided training.

“In seconds, a family was altered forever, and a young girl is now fatherless,” said Bill McDonald, one of OSHA’s area directors. “Companies that operate with high-voltage electricity must train workers to recognize hazards and use proper procedures to prevent electrical shock. No one should die on-the-job.”

The employer was cited for one willful and 14 serious safety violations. In 2013, there were 71 worker fatalities due to electrocution, and 29 CFR 1910.305, OSHA’s electrical standard, is one of the top ten most frequently violated OSHA standards. In one of the citations against this employer, OSHA noted, “The employer did not assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).”

OSHA also said that this particular employer “did not establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure that before any employee performs any servicing or maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, startup or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment was not isolated from the energy source and rendered inoperative.” The company faces penalties of $106,400.

Facility managers and employees need to work around potentially dangerous electrical equipment every day. They need to know what they can and can’t do — and when to call in the experts. Potomac Testing is that expert, whether on-site, or in Potomac Testing’s classroom space, the Potomac team provides structured training for employees. A must for new employees, Potomac also offers courses as a refresher for veteran team members or to introduce the latest technology and techniques. Ask us about scheduling a class to meet your requirements.
This story was originally reported in EHS Today Magazine.