Connecticut Financial Services Firm Cited for Electrical Hazards

OSHA found that The Hartford's data center policy required electricians employed by its maintenance contractor, Grubb & Ellis, to perform work in live electrical panels for computer equipment without first de-energizing the panels.

OSHA has cited The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc. with serious violations of workplace safety standards for exposing workers to electrical hazards at The Hartford's corporate headquarters and data center in Hartford, Conn.

The Hartford, as the creating and controlling employer, was issued one serious citation, with the maximum proposed fine of $7,000, for requiring Grubb & Ellis employees to work on live panels. Grubb & Ellis was issued six serious citations, with $34,000 in proposed fines, for additional electrical and energy control hazards.

OSHA found that The Hartford's data center policy required electricians employed by its maintenance contractor, Grubb & Ellis, to perform work in live electrical panels for computer equipment without first de-energizing the panels, as required under the agency's standards. Grubb & Ellis, for its part, failed to de-energize the electrical panels before having its employees perform installation work and grid upgrades on them.

"What employers must understand is that they or their contractors must first de-energize electrical equipment and circuits before employees work on them," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Working on live electrical equipment needlessly exposes workers to potential death or disabling injury from arc flash, arc blast, or electric shock. Proper and effective safeguards must be in place and in use at all times."

Other Grubb & Ellis employees who were assigned to work on the building's electrical systems performed some of their work on live parts and circuits, and were not trained on electrical safe work practices and protective equipment needed to guard against electrical hazards. In addition, Grubb & Ellis lacked specific hazardous energy control procedures to prevent the activation of, or the release of hazardous energy from, equipment during maintenance and repair work, and failed to develop and adequately train all authorized employees on hazardous energy control and procedures for safely applying, using and removing energy control devices.

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