Power Plant Explosion Brings Safety Fines

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 @ 08:10 PM gHale

A generator explosion this past April during a maintenance shut down has Plant Bowen in Cartersville, GA, facing $119,000 in fines for 17 serious safety violations said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The April 2013 explosion occurred during a maintenance shutdown at the plant in Cartersville. Proposed penalties total $119,000.

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“Fortunately, no one was injured or killed as a result of this explosion,” said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office. “Our inspection found several serious safety hazards that the company must address immediately to protect its workers. It is a fundamental responsibility of employers to ensure a safe workplace.”

The serious violations found at Plant Bowen, which is a part of the Georgia Power Co., include a failure to comply with OSHA’s tagout procedures for power generation plants; ensure the worker in charge conducted a safety briefing with workers before they start each job; use a tagout system without demonstrating it solely can provide full workers’ protection; develop, document and use procedures to control potentially hazardous energy; and describe the scope, purpose, responsibility, authorization and techniques for maintenance procedures. Other violations include failing to follow specific procedures to remove and transfer tagout devices; perform an annual inspection of all energy control procedures; use the shutdown procedures established for each machine or equipment; prohibit ignition sources near hydrogen or hydrogen sealing systems; assign a worker the responsibility for overall tagout control; and verify the isolation and de-energization of the machine or equipment.

Georgia Power Co., a subsidiary of the Southern Co., employs 8,000 workers, with 300 at the Plant Bowen facility.

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