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OSHA finds 17 Georgia Power safety violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, announced on Sept. 27 that they discovered 17 serious safety violations after investigating an industrial accident at Georgia Power's Plant Bowen facility in April. The safety agency added that they have proposed that Georgia Power pay a $119,000 fine.

The accident happened in the part of the facility that contains the turbines and generators used to produce electricity. A generator exploded during a shutdown procedure prior to scheduled maintenance. Three people suffered minor injuries, but OSHA believes that this is due more to good fortune than effective oversight. The agency began their investigation on the evening of the explosion.

An internal investigation conducted by Georgia Power blamed the accident on workers rather than equipment failure. They concluded that workers shutting down the generator did not follow procedures, and they failed to communicate effectively with colleagues. The OSHA investigation came to a different conclusion. The agency said that they found a number of serious safety hazards that required urgent attention from the power authority. These safety violations were a threat to the safety of the Georgia Power work force, according to OSHA. Among the violations was a failure to follow the procedures used to control hazardous energy sources.

Workers who perform dangerous jobs expect their employers to do all that they can to ensure that the workplace is safe. When an industrial accident occurs, Georgia workman's compensation covers injured workers. However, the claim procedure can sometimes be complex, and even well-meaning employers will have different interests in an injured employee. An attorney experienced in workplace injury law may be able to help the victims of workplace accidents obtain more compensation than they could manage on their own. They may also file a personal injury claim if the accident was caused by negligence.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "OSHA cites Georgia Power for 17 serious safety violations following Bowen explosion", Kristi E. Swarts, September 27, 2013

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