Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bechtel Fined $1,200,000 For Electrical Safety Violations

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued two Preliminary Notices of Violation (PNOV) to Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC (BJC) as part of an ongoing effort to ensure DOE contractors maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees and maintain stringent information security standards.  One PNOV is issued for violations of DOE's worker safety and health regulations.  The second PNOV cites BJC for violations of the Department's classified information security program requirements.

 The worker safety and health PNOV cites four violations of DOE regulations governing electrical safety and hazardous energy control requirements that are applicable to electrical power distribution operations.  On March 19, 2009, a BJC electrician was preparing to work on 13,800 volt electrical equipment that had not been deenergized and caused a high voltage electrical arc.  No workers were injured, but the electrician narrowly missed electrocution.  BJC was cited for failures to comply with 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program, and 29 C.F.R. Part 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards.  The violations involve deficiencies in identifying and controlling worker exposures to electrical hazards, providing required training, and implementing effective electrical safety program procedures.  Earlier this year, DOE's Oak Ridge Office administered a contract fee reduction in the amount of $1,200,000 for the violations associated with this event and other electrical safety performance deficiencies.

Following the electrical event, BJC conducted a thorough investigation and implemented a comprehensive set of corrective actions that included senior management approval to perform electrical work and more rigorous electrical work planning and control procedures. 

The classified information security PNOV cites three violations stemming from the unauthorized removal and unlawful attempt by a former BJC employee to sell classified matter to a foreign government.  Although DOE found it is unlikely that any sensitive information or materials fell into the hands of a foreign government, the Department is taking this enforcement action to help prevent future breaches of security.  BJC is cited for failure to comply with DOE requirements contained in 10 C.F.R. Part 1045, Nuclear Classification and Declassification, and the 470.4 series of DOE Manuals.  The three violations are associated with the absence of effective and integrated security systems; ineffective self-assessment processes that failed to identify any of the broad classified information and physical security noncompliances disclosed by this event; and the lack of classification markings.  The PNOV includes a proposed civil penalty of $562,500.

This civil action follows aggressive investigation and enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the BJC employee on January 26, 2007, during an undercover operation.  On January 26, 2009, the former employee pled guilty, was charged with unlawful disclosure of Restricted Data under the Atomic Energy Act, and was sentenced to six years in prison.  Following the security event, BJC in consultation with the Department immediately implemented effective corrective actions, including an improved integrated security system and enhanced protection measures to ensure that classified matter was no longer subject to additional risk.


posted by Steve Hudgik | This Arc Flash Post and 1 Comments |


At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should also be fined and sued for the work done on a DRTRA facility in Tbilisi Georgia.


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