Cal/OSHA recently cited Quantum Energy Storage Corporation in Poway, Calif. $58,025 for a June 10 explosion caused by an out-of-control 11,000 pound metal flywheel.
One worker suffered a broken ankle and three others were treated for abrasion injuries caused by flying debris from the explosion.
Cal/OSHA investigators learned that the nearly seven feet in diameter flywheel was placed in a concrete vault area installed in the warehouse for tests of the energy storage system.
Prior to the accident, the flywheel was spinning at 6,000 rotations per minute, and had just begun the process of winding down when it failed. The flywheel came loose from its moorings and crashed into the vault’s guard rails, causing enough damage to the building’s roof, interior and walls that the building was deemed unsafe to enter after the accident.
No steps had been taken to enclose the vault or minimize hazards where the employees worked. Computer stations were not located at a safe distance nor were they designed to limit employee exposure in the event of uncontrolled release of electrical or mechanical energy.
Cal/OSHA issued 16 citations to Quantum Energy Storage for violations of multiple health and safety standards, including the safe practices for operating machinery standard.
The citations included five that were serious in nature and one classified as serious accident-related.
A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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