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Leading tool, equipment manufacturer cited after maintenance electrician suffers severe burns

04 June 2024

One of the world's largest tool and equipment manufacturers, Stanley Black + Decker, could have prevented a 29-year-old maintenance electrician from suffering severe burns during an electrical arc blast at a company facility in Willard, Ohio if required safety standards were followed, a US Department of Labor investigation has found.

An arc flash occurs when an electric current travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to the ground. These flashes can produce temperatures over 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause serious injury and even death for people nearby.

In response to the employer's report of the worker's hospitalisation, the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection at MTD Products Inc. β€” operating as Stanley Black + Decker β€” on 20 December 2023 and identified several safety issues. Agency investigators found the company failed to provide personal protective equipment as required when employees were working around energized electrical equipment. The blast occurred while the electrician replaced fuses to repair an industrial oven.

OSHA determined Stanley Black + Decker lacked safe work practices and training for electrical maintenance employees and for the use of required lockout/tagout procedures for energized electrical equipment. They also found the company exposed workers to potential fall hazards.

"Stanley Black + Decker must reevaluate its safety procedures immediately to protect maintenance workers from electrical and machine hazards before another employee suffers needlessly," explained OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. "Each year, hundreds of workers are hurt or worse by electrical-related injuries when employers fail to provide required personal protective equipment and follow safety procedures. Employee safety and health should be every employer's most important bottom line."

OSHA cited Stanley Black + Decker for one willful violation and four serious violations. The company faces $222,392 in proposed penalties.

Headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut, Stanley Black + Decker is a $14.5 billion global diversified industrial company with 56,000 employees in more than 60 countries. The company operates the world's largest tools and storage business featuring brands such as DeWalt, Stanley, Black+Decker and Craftsman. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

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