After learning an electric arc flash injured a worker at Georgia Power's Plant Bowen generating facility, OSHA inspectors opened an investigation in October. Georgia Power and ABB, Inc. were both cited after the investigation with a proposed $122,780 in fines.
When the arc flash occurred, a 48-year-old electrician was working on an electrical cabinet that was still powered. The ABB, Inc. employee suffered second and third-degree burns to his hands, arms and torso.
Georgia Power received two repeated, five serious and two other-than-serious safety citations. The repeated violations relate to the employer failing to ensure the electrical cabinet was not powered down before allowing work to begin and not developing specific steps to power down machinery and prevent starting up during maintenance and servicing. Georgia Power was previously cited for similar violations in 2014 at this facility.
The company's serious violations relate to its failure to:
- Ensure proper grounding of electrical equipment.
- Inform other employers of their electrical lockout program.
- Provide adequate procedures for electrical energy isolation.
ABB, Inc. was issued two serious citations. The serious violations relate to the employer's failure to coordinate with other employers on the specific requirements of removing power from equipment before maintenance and servicing and exposing workers to electrical hazards.
"Every day, employees place their trust in their employers to keep them safe while they work, unfortunately Georgia Power and ABB failed to ensure the cabinet was properly de-energized before allowing the electrician to begin working. This incident was totally preventable if his employers simply followed OSHA standards," said Christi Griffin, OSHA's director of the Atlanta-West Office.