An electrical panel isn’t a glove box

by on September 10, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Workers are tempted to store things any place they can – and sometimes they might think spaces reserved for electrical safety, such as the inside of an electrical panel box, might serve as a storage closet in a pinch.

A St. Louis man was electrocuted May 15 when he reached into an energized electrical panel to retrieve some work gloves stored there. Mach Nguyen, 55, who worked for steel-bar manufacturer St. Louis Cold Drawn, Inc., died at the scene.

OSHA sent a team to investigate the fatality, and issued 19 serious citations. As expected, when there’s one problem, there are more. Safe electrical work practices were a big problem:

  • exposing workers to live electricity
  • open grounding of electrical equipment, and
  • using electrical equipment in disrepair.

The one that most likely to led to the fatality: OSHA cited the company for failing to train workers who may be exposed to electrical shock on safe work practices.

Periodic inspections of electrical panels, cabinets, closets and boxes can give you an idea whether workers are falling into sloppy habits. Remember: If supervisors don’t catch and correct a safety issue, workers will start to assume that what they’ve done is OK.

Cold Drawn faces $51,800 in fines.

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