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#177362 - 04/30/08 08:47 AM Disaster story to share
ricker Offline

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 16
Loc: california
Just over one year ago at the mining facility I work at, an operator hit one of the 12 kv power lines at our plant. What happened to the plant substation is that the main transformer and reactors exploded, and some of the lines out of the substation dropped to the ground. The plant was down for one week while PGE brought in a portable substation, and the lines were repaired. It was at this point that I learned that a testing company had examined the substation 6 months earlier, and found that the main overcurrent device in the substation had been bypassed, so that the plant could operate. So much for safety first. As it turns out, management knew of this situation, and did nothing. They did try to fire the operator, which would have been an injustice given the 6day 12 plus hour shifts everyone had been working. The plant manager at the time has since been promoted, and all others involved are doing fine in their careers. The true miracle is that no one was injured, as several people were under the power lines when they dropped. Management still seems to want to spend a dollar to save a dime, and it happens over and over. I have tried to explain to the junior manager that it will cost less upfront to buy better motors and equipment, than to go cheap, and have the plant not run for several hours or days while the problem is fixed. This, plus one miner having his leg cut off because of management wanting the work done faster has made me think I should be working elsewhere. When we screw up, we get fired, management gets promoted.

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#177363 - 04/30/08 08:59 AM Re: Disaster story to share [Re: ricker]
mikesh Offline

Registered: 06/07/06
Posts: 614
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
The promotion was probably given so the manager would not reveal the decision to bypass the Main. Sooner or later you will be affected by their management decisions. I'd look for another place to work since it looks like it is a DEAD end place to work.
Sorry to let my cynicism show but decisions based on short term mean the plant is not destined to operate long term. After all it is probably more profitable in the short term to run the plant into the ground and lay everyone off and close it once it fails and the cost to fix it is too high.

#177372 - 04/30/08 10:47 AM Re: Disaster story to share [Re: mikesh]
ghost307 Offline

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 883
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
The worst one that I ever saw was an 800 Amp 480 Volt circuit breaker in a lineup of draw-out switchgear that kept "tripping for no reason". When I went out to the plant to diagnose the problem, I found that someone had closed the breaker and then hammered a chisel into the operating linkage so that it couldn't open.

Why did they finally call me out??

The main contacts on the breaker melted down and cut the power again. I guess there is no limit to how stupid some people can be.

#177373 - 04/30/08 10:53 AM Re: Disaster story to share [Re: ghost307]
BryanInBalt Offline

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 47
Loc: Baltimore
who you gonna call?
someone who knows how to deal with PGE!
Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.

#177384 - 04/30/08 08:13 PM Re: Disaster story to share [Re: BryanInBalt]
njelectricmaster Offline

Registered: 04/29/01
Posts: 110
Loc: Lead, South Dakota
Hello From Soth Dakota!!!!

Ricker, I am curios as to what mine you work at. I would like to look up the MSHA report that was generated. Don't forget that it is your right as per the 30 cfr to report directly to msha if you have concerns that you have reported to managment with no response.

I am rebuilding the old Homestake mine in Lead, South Dakota. We are changing the old mine into an underground science facility. I have only been on site for a month, but when I have voiced my concerns with safety issues, they have all been addressed imidiatly.

I am very disapointed that managment at your site would allow such a blatent and calculated violation occure. I am happy that no one was injured, a miricle in itself.

I would love to hear more about your site and duties. Post them here or e-mail if you like.

my appoligies for my spelling this evening!!!lol

Jon Niemeyer


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