OSHA Penalizes Eversource for Deadly Beacon Hill Explosion – NECN

Eversource was cited Thursday by federal investigators for five workplace violations related to the deadly explosion of an underground transformer in Boston this summer.

One of the two utility workers injured in the July 12 incident has died, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said in a statement, which Eversource confirmed. The company identified the worker as Fabio Pires and said he died in October.

“We remain deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague Fabio Pires following the tragic incident in downtown Boston last summer. Safety is the most fundamental aspect of our daily approach to providing reliable energy service, and we always strive to preach by example in accordance with industry best practices,” an Eversource representative said in a statement.

OSHA, which was investigating what happened as an industrial accident, said Thursday it found Eversource failed to follow instructions on electrical equipment during maintenance, underestimated the amount of heat an electrical explosion would generate and failed to provide its employees with proper training.

Two workers were injured after an underground transformer explosion in downtown Boston Tuesday afternoon.

“Eversource could have prevented this arc flash and flashover, and its tragic outcome, by ensuring that the necessary and effective training, procedures and work practices were provided and followed,” OSHA Area Director James Mulligan said in a statement. a statement. “The company was aware of the dangers associated with this type of high-voltage equipment, but failed to protect its employees as required by law.”

The Eversource representative said the company disagrees with some of OSHA’s conclusions, but shares “a determination to learn from what happened to prevent future tragedies and will continue to respond accordingly as this process becomes final.” and added that the company will continue to work to improve security measures for its workers and the public.

The explosion took place around 6 p.m. on Bowdoin Street, just steps from the state capital, as Eversource workers performed routine maintenance on an underground electrical vault, fire officials said earlier. The injured workers were able to get out of the vault under their own power.

Authorities had only previously said two workers were injured, one seriously.

Eversource said in an update a day after the explosion that both employees were being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, one for serious injuries caused by the flash of equipment and the other for smoke inhalation.

“The safety of our employees is always our priority,” an Eversource spokesperson said in a statement at the time, noting that his team is also investigating. “Our focus continues to be supporting both our employees and their families… We also want to thank local Boston first responders for their quick response and action on the scene last night.”

According to OSHA, the worker who suffered severe burns later died. The explosion, known as an arc flash and blast, took place when that employee replaced electrical equipment they were working on in the underground vault, the agency said.

Eversource has been cited with five violations, including two willful and three serious, totaling $333,560 in proposed penalties, according to OSHA.

The utility has 15 business days to comply with the violations or respond, OSHA said.

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