An electrical contractor responsible for work being performed on the North Campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo may have to pay over $88,000 in fines. The company, O’Connell Electric Company Inc. of Victor, N.Y., was cited by OSHA after a workplace accident that happened this past May.
While performing maintenance work on electrical switches in one of the SUNY Buffalo buildings an O’Connell employee was burned from an electrical arc flash. According to an OSHA investigation, one of the switches had not been de-energized nor had the switches been properly barricaded and tagged before work began.
The investigation revealed that O’Connell was negligent in failing to properly inform or train their workers about electrical safe work practices and hazardous energy control procedures. In addition, the workers were not provided with the appropriate protective clothing for the type of work they were performing.
OSHA has issued citations and has proposed $88,200 in fines for O’Connell’s role in the burning of their employee. The company has 15 business days to contest the findings, comply, or participate in an informal OSHA conference.
Workplace injuries suffered by electrical contractors can be very serious, and can even kill. OSHA’s goal in issuing serious citations and high financial penalties is intended to send a message to electrical companies that they must properly train and equip their workers.