Explosion at Sewage Plant Injures Five Workers in California

Lockout/tagout can mean the difference between life and death, a fact that five workers at a Huntington Beach, Calif., sewage treatment plant learned the hard way.

One employee, Marc Posey, is in critical condition at the Grossman Burn Center at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana following an August 2 explosion and fire at the facility in which four other employees were injured.

Posey and coworkers Scott Christenson, Travis Lindbergh, Phillip Sullivan and Roger Webb were upgrading a12,000-volt electrical service center vault that distributes power to a sanitation district facility when Posey apparently began connecting wires that had not been de-energized. Witnesses saw an explosive flash, and Posey's clothing caught fire.

Posey suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. Webb suffered second- and third-degree burns over 6 percent of his body. Both are scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery tomorrow. The other three workers suffered moderate or minor injuries.

CalOSHA and the Orange County Sanitation District are investigating the accident.

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