The explosion occurred during a maintenance shutdown at the plant in Cartersville, according to the OSHA news release. Proposed penalties total $119,000.
"Fortunately, no one was injured or killed as a result of this explosion," Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office, said in the release. "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 include a failure to comply with OSHA's tagout procedures for power generation plants; ensure that 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 approximately 8,000 workers, with about 300 at the Plant Bowen facility. 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-West Area Office at 678-903-7301.
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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
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