Region 1 News Release: 09-966-BOS/BOS 2009-277
Thurs., Sept. 3, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Norwalk, Conn., electrical contractor faces $148,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines following Stamford, Conn., electrical fire
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $148,000 in fines against C.W. Pond Contractors Inc., a Norwalk, Conn., electrical contractor, in connection with a March 4 electrical fire at the Old YMCA at 980 Washington Blvd. in Stamford, Conn.
Two apprentice electricians were working on and around an energized 480 volt electrical distribution panel when an electrical arc flash and blast occurred, burning one of the workers. OSHA's investigation found that the panel had not first been de-energized before being worked on, as required, and the employees had not been supplied with the required personal protective equipment.
As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued C.W. Pond Contractors two willful citations, carrying $140,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The contractor also has been issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for not training employees on safety-related electrical work practices, and one other-than-serious citation with a $1,000 fine for an incomplete illness and injury log. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"The lethal potential of electricity cannot be underestimated. This accident could easily have resulted in a double fatality, as electricity moves - and can kill - at the speed of light," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Due to the grave nature of these hazards, we are proposing the maximum fines allowed under the law."
Detailed information on safety issues and resources for electrical contractors is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/electricalcontractors/index.html.
C. W. Pond Contractors has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the items before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office; telephone 203-579-5581.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.