Region 1 News Release: 11-798-BOS/BOS 2011-188
June 1, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites 2 employers for electrical hazards
at The Hartford Financial Services Group in Connecticut
HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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.
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.
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 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.
Detailed information on electrical hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/electrical/index.html. Information on hazardous energy control is at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office; telephone 860-240-3152. 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 ensure 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.