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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200535078 - Three Employees Were Burned In Flash Arc Fire

Accident: 200535078 -- Report ID: 0751910 -- Event Date: 06/06/2012
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31657401106/07/20123312Gerdau Ameristeel Us Inc.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on June 6, 2012, Employee #1 an electrical engineer, Employee #2 and Employee #3 electricians worked for the Gerdau Ameristeel, Wilton, IA., and for Davenport Electric Contract Company to provide electrical maintenance in the Shredder area. A Fluke meter, rated for a maximum of 1000 volts, was applied to a live circuit, energized at 4160 volts. Employee #2 replaced broken conduit which was used to bring power to the 3000 hp Shredder Motor. Employee #3 was called to assist Employee #2. Two extra cables were found in a Shredder junction box and Employee #1 asked Employee's #2 and #3 to trace the cables. Single line prints were analyzed and a connection to a capacitor was noted. Employee #1 reported that he did not notice there were two different capacitors on the drawing. One capacitor was south of the shredder building, installed for voltage stabilization and was not labeled. The other capacitor, located in the Shredder Area electrical substation, north of the Shredder building, was for power correction and was labeled "CAPACITOR BANK". The Shredder was locked out at the substation. The breaker, in the substation panel marked "CAPACITOR BANK", was open and the panel door was initially locked out to prepare for testing. Employee #2 called Employee #1 to ask if the "CAPACITOR BANK" breaker could be closed because the initial continuity test did not work. Employee #1 entered the substation enclosure to discuss the work with Employee #2 and Employee #3. Employee #1 agreed that it would be safe to close the breaker. The interlock, on the substation cabinet door marked "CAPACITOR BANK", was defeated so the door could remain open when the breaker was closed. The handle was in the "on" position. Employee #2 used a Fluke meter, rated for a maximum of 1000 volts, to try to test for ohms to confirm circuit continuity. The upstream lockout acted upon the power stabilization capacitor bank, and was not upstream of the "CAPACITOR BANK" power correction capacitor, the meter was applied to a live circuit, energized at 4160 volts. A fault occurred and caused an arc flash. Employee #1 reported he heard a buzz and then felt the flash. He saw that Employee #2 was on fire. Employee #1 attempted to extinguish Employee #2's clothing by rolling Employee #2 on the ground while yelling for help. Employee #4 heard a pop and saw smoke rise from the substation area and alerted the plant Emergency Response Team (ERT). Shredder Department Employees, who were ERT members, responded immediately with an AED, fire extinguisher and a medical equipment bag. Employee #2 was extinguished with a fire extinguisher. A polyester blanket was placed over Employee #2 to cover and prevent shock. Then the blanket caught on fire. The blanket was pulled away and a fire extinguisher was used a second time to extinguish Employee #2's clothes. One responder reported that a fire appeared to be coming from under Employee #2, so they rolled him and patted the fire down. First aid was provided. Employee #1 reported he was approximately 8 to 10 feet away from the arc flash origin. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn at the time of the incident included safety glasses, a 100 polyester high visibility safety vest, denim blue jeans, hard hat w/chin strap, steel toed work boots and a long sleeve flame resistant (ATPV 7.7 rated) shirt. Employee #1 was burned on his hands while trying to extinguish Employee #2. Employee #1 had flash burns to his face, with blisters in some areas. Employee #1 was taken by ambulance and kept overnight in the hospital. Employee #2 was not as seriously burned on his head and neck as he was on the lower portions of his body. Employee #2's pants were consumed in the fire, except for part of the waistband and approximately 6 inches of the bottom of the pant legs. Employee #2 was flown via medical helicopter to a hospital burn unit, where he was admitted with 55 percent of his body burned. Employee #3 reported he was approximately 8.
Keywords: elec protect equip, electric arc, power line worker, fire, capacitor, electric meter, electric conductor, electrical box, buried
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 316574011 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Electricians
2 316574011 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Electrical and electronic engineers
3 316574011 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Electricians

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