Sibley Electrician Business Latest To Be Cited After July Flash Explosion

Date posted - January 27, 2014

Sibley, Iowa — Iowa safety officials have cited a Sibley electrician business for violations that occurred when a flash explosion sent five people to a hospital in July, 2013.

The Iowa Division of Labor Services Occupational Safety and Health Bureau, or I-OSHA says the accident happened when workers were switching over electric lines at Timewell Drainage in Sibley.

Three entities have now been cited, including the City of Sibley Electric Department, Timewell, and now Current Electric of Sibley.

According to the citation, the issue occurred when workers were installing new electrical wiring to an 800 amp interior panel board. They say work was being performed while the wiring was energized and people were allowed in the immediate area without personal protective equipment. After installation of wiring to the panel board, the employer was confirming that proper function of the equipment had been achieved. They say lock and tagout was not applied ensuring that the equipment was not energized prior to installation of the panel cover. They say people were in the immediate area and were exposed to an arc flash and/or arc blast, and life-threatening injuries were sustained.

I-OSHA says that Current Electric should have conducted frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, and equipment. They also allege that Current Electric did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the applicable regulations.

Last fall, Timewell Drainage was cited for not instructing their employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and for employees not wearing personal protective equipment.

Also last fall, the City of Sibley Electric Department was cited in connection with the incident. I-OSHA says controls deactivated during the course of work on energized or de-energized equipment or circuits were not tagged on the worksite involving the energizing and deenergizing of a transformer with an incoming line voltage of thousands of volts.

When more than one independent crew requires the same line or equipment to be deenergized, the law requires a prominent tag for each such independent crew to be placed on the line or equipment by a designated employee in charge, and according to I-OSHA, that didn’t happen.

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