Region 1 News Release: 11-157-BOS / BOS 2011-049
Feb. 14, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Northeast Hospital Corp. for failing
to protect workers against electrical hazards at Beverly, Mass., facility
Hospital faces $63,000 in proposed fines
ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Northeast Hospital Corp. for alleged repeat and serious violations of electrical safety standards at its facility in Beverly. The employer faces a total of $63,000 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by a worker complaint.
OSHA found that some hospital employees were exposed to potential electric shock, burns, arc flash incidents and electrocution while changing circuit breakers on live electrical panels. Specifically, the employees lacked or did not use personal protective equipment while working with energized electrical equipment; electrical protective equipment was not periodically tested; electrical safety related work practices were not used; and specific procedures were not developed for the control of hazardous energy while replacing electrical breakers.
These conditions resulted in the issuance of four serious citations with $28,000 in fines. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The hospital also was issued one repeat citation, with a fine of $35,000, for failing to ensure that unused openings in electrical panels and cabinet motor control centers were effectively closed. The citation was classified as repeat because OSHA had cited the hospital in May 2010 for a similar condition. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
"Electricity can kill or severely injure workers, literally in a flash. There is no margin for error here," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. "That's why it is vitally important for the safety and well-being of employees working with electricity that they be properly trained and equipped with effective protective equipment."
Northeast Hospital Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Andover Area Office; telephone 978-837-4460. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.