The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ASARCO—a metal smelting company—for electrical hazards after an arc flash caused three workers to suffer severe burns at its facility in Hayden, Arizona. The company faces $278,456 in penalties for two willful violations and one serious violation.
OSHA inspectors determined the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160-volt switchgear. OSHA cited the company for its failure to provide a pre-job briefing before work began on the energized switchgear, render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and ensure the injured employees had arc-flash protective clothing.
“Employers must not jeopardize the safety of workers,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto, in San Francisco, California. “Arc flash hazards are well known, but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Area Director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.