Utility District Cited in Arc Flash Explosion at Hydroelectric Dam

L&I cited the utility district for five serious violations and for each assessed the maximum penalty of $7,000.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has fined Grant County Public Utility District #2 $35,000 for five serious safety violations after investigating an explosion at its Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River in Beverly, Wash. Six workers were hospitalized with serious electrical burns after the explosion last October, according to the agency's news release.

The workers were troubleshooting a mechanical problem with a generator and "did not know that a circuit had been re-energized when they closed a breaker, which caused the high-voltage electrical arc flash explosion," L&I reported, adding that its investigation found that the arc flash could have been prevented if the employer had ensured safety locks and safeguards were used to prevent the breaker from being closed when other parts of the circuit were energized.

L&I cited the utility district for five serious violations and for each assessed the maximum penalty of $7,000. The investigation found that:

  • The district did not ensure the use of lockout/tagout devices to prevent inadvertently closing a breaker that could cause an arc flash.
  • Employees were not briefed on the circuit conditions that affected them and exposed them to the risk of burns and electrocution.
  • Employees were unaware the lockout/tagout devices had been removed from the circuit.
  • One worker was not wearing fire-resistant clothing while working on the hydroelectric equipment.
  • The district did not provide any records to show it complied with the state regulation on protecting workers from injury due to hazardous energy.

The utility district has 15 days to appeal the citation. Penalty money paid as a result of an L&I citation is placed in the workers' compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of workers who have died on the job.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together this page with critical information to help answer your key questions about OSHA recordkeeping.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We put together a guide that’s easy to digest so you can ensure you're complying with OSHA's training standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus