“Donnie’s Accident” – “I Was Too Good To Need My Safety Gear”

Donnie's Accident

On August 12, 2004, I was connecting large electrical generator in preparation for Hurricane Charlie. The meter I was using failed and blew carbon into the gear and created an electrical arc which resulted in an arc blast. The electrical equipment shown in the video is the actual equipment after the explosion when my co-workers were there trying to restore power and make temporary repairs. I ended up with full thickness, 3rd degree burns to both hands and arms along with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my neck and face. I was in a coma for two months due to numerous complications from infections and medications.

During this time my family endured 4 hurricanes and the possibility of losing me. I am a husband, a father, a son and a brother, not just an electrician. It took almost two years of healing, surgeries and rehabilitation to only be able to return to work to an office job. I can’t use my hands and arms as well as I once could… BUT I’M ALIVE! There are those who have had similar accidents and fared much, much worse. I use my experiences to caution others.

All of this could have been avoided if I had been wearing my personal protection equipment (PPE), which I was fully trained to do and was in my work van. I would have probably only gone to the hospital for a checkup! I am asking you to protect yourself by following your safety procedures. Accidents at work not only affect you; think about the effects on your family, your friends, your finances, your company, your co-workers… your entire world.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by following the safety rules your company probably have in place. Most of these rules were put in place because of accidents like mine. Be safe, wear your PPE; not for fear of fines, penalties or getting fired. Be safe for yourself and for all the people close to you. I got a second chance… You might not!!! !!!

You can read a more in depth account of my accident on the “Full Story” page.

OSHA Arc Flash Safety Information
Understanding “Arc Flash” – Occupational Safety and Health ……/arc_flash_han…

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Employees must follow the requirements of the Arc Flash Hazard label by wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), use of insulated tools and other safety related precautions. This includes not working on or near the circuit unless you are a “qualified” worker.


“NFPA 70E – 2017” – “LOTO & Arc Flash Proposed Changes From Second Draft Meeting “


The second draft meeting for NFPA 70E was held in Salt Lake City on July 18th through July 21st. There were 173 public comments acted on at the meeting. There are a few proposed changes to the standard that were acted upon that may garner the most attention.

NOTE:  The official position of the committee has not been given through the formal ballot. This blog only addresses preliminary revisions proposed by the public and committee.

The first is that the layout of Article 120 Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition has been reorganized to better address the logical sequence of events. The steps, principles, and program for lockout/tagout have been moved to be the first sections of Article 120 since these are necessary before verifying the condition.  The verification steps have been moved to the end of Article 120 since these are the last steps for establishing the electrically safe work condition.

A second change is to place further emphasis on the risk assessment and put the hierarchy of controls into mandatory language.  The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has always been and remains to be the last method selected when providing protection for the worker exposed to hazards when conducting justified energized work. The revised text clarifies this principle.

The third changes clarifies how the standard should have always been used when justified energized work is to be conducted. It essentially is not adding new requirements but will assist in preventing the misuse of the standard. The change is that Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(a) [that many call the task table] has become a new table applicable to both the PPE category method or the incident energy analysis method. It no longer determines whether PPE is required but whether or not there is a likelihood of an arc flash occurrence. The user conducts a risk assessment and determines the protection scheme to be employed to protect the worker using the hierarchy of controls (same as in the past editions).

The last big change is that the references to PPE equipment standards have been changed to informational notes. The equipment must still meet the applicable standards but the verification process has been changed to one of a conformity assessment where the PPE manufacturer should be able to provide assurance that the applicable standard has been met by one of three methods. The previous edition of the standard did not require any verification method. The three methods are; self-declaration with a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, self-declaration under a registered Quality  Management System and product testing by an accredited laboratory and a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, or a certification by an accredited independent third-party certification organization.

The committee’s official position will be taken by ballot in early September.  If you want to keep up on the process visit the NFPA 70E web page at The next edition tab will carry all the current information throughout the process. NFPA 70E – 2017 is slated to be voted on at the association meeting in Boston, MA in June 2017.

“CPSC, NFL Star Team Up on New 2016 July 4th Fireworks Safety Video”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a fireworks safety event today on the National Mall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot F. Kaye unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) featuring New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul suffered a severe hand injury on July 4, 2015, from a firework-related incident at his home. In the new PSA, Pierre-Paul and Chairman Kaye deliver a powerful message about the importance of children never handling fireworks, all consumers staying away from professional-grade fireworks and safely using consumer fireworks.

While Pierre-Paul was attempting to relight a firework, the device exploded in his hand before he could react. He lost an index finger and part of his thumb, and was required to have reconstructive surgery to save his middle finger. Since the tragic incident, Pierre-Paul has pledged to warn others about fireworks dangers. Because 70 percent of all injuries with fireworks occur during the 30 days surrounding July 4th, CPSC and Pierre-Paul are teaming up to get the message out before, during and after the holiday.

“Anyone doubting the danger fireworks can pose need only look at JPP’s hand and listen to his story,” said Chairman Kaye.  “JPP’s personal experience and connection with fans and families nationwide will bring much needed attention to these dangers and, ultimately, help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks. CPSC has new data indicating that there were 11 deaths and nearly 12,000 ER-treated injuries from fireworks in 2015–the highest number in 15 years.  With more states relaxing their laws and allowing more types of fireworks to be purchased and used by consumers, we need to do more to prevent kids and adults from being rushed to the hospital like JPP experienced.”

In CPSC’s new fireworks report, 9 of the 11 deaths involved reloadable aerial devices, a professional grade fireworks device that can quickly result in tragedy, when used incorrectly. In 2015, the deadliest fireworks incidents most often involved males older than 20. Young adults between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for the highest rate of injuries, followed by children 5 to 9 years of age. About 65 percent of all injuries involved burns from devices such as sparklers, bottle rockets and firecrackers.

Consumers who decide to purchase consumer fireworks are urged to follow these safety steps:

  • Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. (View Fact Sheet)
  • Never use or make professional grade fireworks.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees°F─hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Do not buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

Fireworks Information Center

Fireworks Injuries

fireworks injury infographicFireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

One More Reason To “Store & Dispose of 9 Volt Batteries Properly”


“I had never stopped to consider the 9 Volt Battery Fire Hazard that exists in my battery drawer until I saw this video about a house fire that was caused by a battery. Any battery could cause a fire if a connection is made between the positive and negative terminals but because of the size and location of the terminals on a 9 volt battery it’s much easier for it to occur. To reduce the hazard simply place a piece of electrical tape over the end of the battery when storing or disposing of the battery. Watch How To Start A Fire With A 9 Volt Battery if you want to see how easy it is.”

The excerpt above was taken from a website called “Kids and Character” and is one more example that we all need to keep in mind when storing 9 Volt, or any other battery in a “Junk Drawer”, or either throwing them away or recycling them. Please follow the tips suggested and, Please, check that “Junk Drawer” in your home!


New Flame Retardent Rule Curbs Toxic Chemicals In Furniture

Video Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune®

California’s change may help end use of fire retardants nationwide

For decades, U.S. manufacturers have filled upholstered furniture with pounds of toxic chemicals to comply with a flammability standard set by a single state, California.

The obscure rule, known as Technical Bulletin 117, brought flame retardants into homes across the country. American babies came to be born with the highest recorded average concentrations of the chemicals among any infants in the world.

But on Thursday, California threw out the 38-year-old rule and approved a new one that furniture manufacturers can meet without using flame retardants.

The updated rule does not ban the chemicals. However, manufacturers have said they expect to stop adding them to furniture foam, holding out hope that consumers soon can start shopping for couches and other upholstered furniture free of flame retardants linked to cancer, developmental problems, reduced IQ and impaired fertility.

California Gov. Jerry Brown moved to scrap the old rule after a Tribune investigative series documented how the chemical and tobacco industries waged a deceptive campaign to promote the use of flame retardants, even though government and independent research shows the chemicals do not provide meaningful protection from furniture fires.

The new standard, to be phased in during 12 months beginning Jan. 1, requires upholstery fabric to resist a smoldering cigarette— the biggest cause of furniture fires. It is modeled in part after a voluntary standard adopted by the furniture industry and a national smolder standard proposed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has found that specially designed furniture fabric is far more effective at preventing fires than adding flame retardants to the foam underneath.

Brown’s support proved to be crucial in a long campaign by scientists and public health advocates to get toxic flame retardants out of furniture. The changes also apply to baby products, some of which have been made with flame retardants despite little evidence they pose a fire hazard.

“There’s going to be less flame retardants in furniture, in dust and in us,” said Arlene Blum, a University of California at Berkeley chemist who has drawn attention to health risks posed by the toxic compounds. “It’s great for everyone’s health.”

Tonya Blood, chief of the state agency in charge of enforcing the rule, said she is confident the changes will have a significant impact.

“Many manufacturers have stated that they will be removing flame retardants from their furniture,” she said Thursday after Brown announced approval of the new standards.

A top official for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, an industry trade group, has said most companies can comply within a month after the changes take effect, though compliance isn’t mandatory until Jan. 1, 2015. Retailers will be allowed to sell inventories of products that could still contain flame retardants.

Bob Luedeka, executive director of the Polyurethane Foam Association, said the furniture foam industry will be able to meet the new standard quickly.

He predicted consumers will start seeing furniture made without flame retardants in stores in about six months and does not expect any change in retail prices.

Since 1975, California has required the foam cushions in upholstered furniture to withstand a candle like flame for 12 seconds, a standard manufacturers met nationwide by adding flame retardants.

As scientists increasingly raised alarms about health risks posed by flame retardants, the chemical industry thwarted multiple attempts by California lawmakers and health advocates to change the flammability rule through legislation.

When lawmakers considered eliminating the candle test, the chemical industry’s star witness, burn surgeon David Heimbach, testified about babies who burned to death in fires started by candles. But the Tribune series showed that the babies he described didn’t exist.

The newspaper also documented that the group sponsoring Heimbach — the Citizens for Fire Safety Institute — was a front group for the three largest manufacturers of flame retardants. The industry has since shut down that group.

An arm of the American Chemistry Council, the chief trade group for the chemical industry, said the changes to California’s flammability standard pose a safety risk.

“Families in California should have serious concerns that state officials are lowering fire standards and removing an important layer of fire protection that has benefited Californians for more than 35 years,” Steve Risotto, spokesman for the North American Flame Retardant Alliance, said in a statement. The new rule “sacrifices fire safety,” he said, “with no public health gain.”

The Tribune series, “Playing With Fire,” documented how the chemical industry has repeatedly misled the public with flawed data and questionable claims about the effectiveness of flame retardants. The lead author of one government study cited by the industry told the newspaper his findings have been grossly distorted and that the amount of flame retardants used in household furniture doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, testing by Duke University chemist Heather Stapleton suggests the most commonly used flame retardant in upholstered furniture and baby products is chlorinated tris — a chemical the industry voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas in the late 1970s after scientists found that it could mutate DNA.

Furniture made under the new California rule will feature a label stating that it complies with Technical Bulletin 117-2013. But advocates advised consumers to hold retailers accountable when shopping for new furniture.

“While many manufacturers may elect to remove the chemicals, others may elect to leave them in due to concerns about liability,” said Judy Levin of the Center for Environmental Health, a nonprofit group that has found flame retardants in baby products and crib mattresses. “So consumers will definitely have to be diligent and ask specific questions.”

Source: L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune


Why “Actual” Facts Are Crucial In Accident Investigations

Ever Hear About The Lady Who Spilled Coffee On Herself At McDonald’s, Then Sued For Millions?

It’s really unbelievable what happened to Stella Liebeck. You just have to watch to see how the media turned on this little old lady who lived in Albuquerque. Obviously a villain, right? And at 5:00, prepare to see what the coffee actually did to her. It’s not pretty. Well … nothing in her situation was.

How much of this story did you really know to be true?? Not all of it, I bet! In short, Get your facts first hand. Don’t rely on others for accuracy.


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