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Company faces $81K OSHA fines in Andover electrical blast
[June 08, 2012]

Company faces $81K OSHA fines in Andover electrical blast

ANDOVER, Jun 08, 2012 (The Eagle-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A North Billerica company faces fines up to $81,000 in connection with the injury of two workers in an "arc flash blast" at a local construction site just before Thanksgiving last year.

Interstate Electrical Services of North Billerica was cited by the Andover office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the incident, which occurred on Nov. 23, 2011, at a building construction site at 160 Dascomb Road.

According to OSHA, "two workers installing electrical service were seriously burned when a piece of equipment made contact with an energized part of an electrical panel, resulting in the arc flash.

OSHA's Andover Area Office determined that the energized electrical panel was not effectively guarded to prevent workers from coming in contact. As a result of this condition, OSHA issued a willful citation, with a $70,000 fine.

According to an OSHA statement, a willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"OSHA also issued the contractor two serious citations, with $11,000 in fines, for additional electrical hazards posed by a damaged power cord and an energized electrical wire that was not protected against damage. A serious violation occurs 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," the statement said.

Interstate Electrical Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

At the time of the incident, both men were taken to Lawrence General Hospital, and one was transferred to a Boston hospital. Interstate Electrical was working on renovation of the back part of the building, the front portion of which is used by Mayo Clinic Medical Laboratories, for the Agfa company, Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said at the time that the most seriously hurt worker had injuries to his face, chest and hands.

He said yesterday that while the incident was investigated by local police, fire and electrical inspectors, OSHA took over the investigation.

He said he heard that both workers recovered from their wounds and were back at work.

Interstate Electrical could not be reached for comment yesterday.

___ (c)2012 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) Visit The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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