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MSHA News Release: [11/05/2008]
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: 202-693-9423
Release Number 08-1561-DAL

MSHA fines Triad Electric & Control $135,000
3 contractors injured in electrical accident

ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced it has assessed $135,000 in fines against Triad Electric & Control Inc., a contractor at the Cemex Balcones cement plant in Comal County, Texas. Three contract workers were seriously injured in June and, as a result of MSHA's accident investigation, two contributory violations were issued to the contractor.

According to MSHA records, three Triad employees were running conduit into switchgear for a plant expansion project when they suffered arc-flash electrical injuries while testing an energized circuit. Two of the contract employees suffered disfiguring facial burns and permanently disabling burns to their hands. A third suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and arms. All three victims were qualified electricians with at least 15 years experience.

"Like so many other accidents, this one was totally preventable," said Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The contractor should have made certain the power was de-energized before testing the circuit."

Switchgear, used in association with an electric power system or grid, refers to the combination of electrical disconnects, fuses and/or circuit breakers that isolate and de-energize electrical equipment.

MSHA issued an unwarrantable failure citation and fined the contractor $70,000 for failure to de-energize the power circuit. MSHA also issued a regular high negligence citation and fined the contractor $65,000 for using the electrical meter beyond the design capacity intended by its manufacturer.

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