The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ASARCO — a metal smelting company based in Tucson, Ariz. — for electrical hazards after an arc flash caused three workers to suffer severe burns at its facility in Hayden, Ariz. The company faces $278,456 in penalties for two willful violations and one serious violation.
OSHA inspectors determined the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160V switchgear. OSHA cited the company for its failure to provide a pre-job briefing before work began on the energized switchgear, render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and ensure the injured employees had arc-flash protective clothing.
“Employers must not jeopardize the safety of workers,” says OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto. “Arc flash hazards are well-known but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Area Director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information, visit www.ohsa.gov.