TVA contractor faces penalties over injury to workers at Sequoyah nuclear plant

TVA contractor faces penalties over injury to workers at Sequoyah nuclear plant

Arc flash that burned 2 workers could have been prevented, OSHA says

August 6th, 2018 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

This story was updated Aug. 6, 2018, at 6:56 p.m. with more information.

A TVA contractor has been cited for exposing its employees to electric shock hazards at TVA's Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant near Soddy-Daisy.

Day & Zimmerman NPS Inc. is facing $71,599 in proposed penalties stemming from an arc flash accident at Sequoyah that burned two workers and sent them to a local hospital in March. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday that its was penalizing Day & Zimmerman because the nuclear plant contractor failed to maintain adequate safety practices for work it was doing on the 6.9 kilovolt electrical bus at Sequoyah.

OSHA cited the Chattanooga-based company for failing to require that employees wear protective clothing and equipment, conduct pre-job briefings with employees on energy source controls, removal of a ground and test device and allow potential for residual electrical energy to accumulate.

"These serious injuries could have been prevented if the company had implemented effective work practices to reduce the risk of electric shock hazards," said OSHA Nashville Area Office Director William Cochran said in a statement.

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.

Day & Zimmerman 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. The company did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Malinda Hunter said TVA does not discuss ongoing negotiations with its vendors or contractors, but she said "TVA takes the safety of employees and contractors very seriously.

"We have taken steps to prevent a recurrence of this event, including communicating the investigation findings to employees and ensuring that all required safety standards and procedures are followed," Hunter said.