Arc Flash at Massachusetts Power Company

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Arc Flash at Massachusetts Power Company

Two men were seriously injured in an arc flash event in April 2016.

A third worker was injured as well, but returned to the scene to help fire investigators the same day as the accident.

The incident occurred at Ware River Power Inc. in Ware, Massachusetts. The cause, as determined by the fire investigator, was a human or mechanical accident. The office did not see the accident as suspicious.

The Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit finished the final report for this incident July 13. The report stated that OSHA would not be a part of any investigation because of the low minimum number of total employees at this plant. The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents stated that because the employees had workman’s compensation, their office would not be conducting any form of investigation either.

The insurance company, as stated in the report, “believed that there may be a mechanical issue with the fuse disconnect switch” involving the electrical panel. “The worker who was the most seriously burned from the heat of the arc flash pulled a lever on the 600-volt box to disconnect power while the other two injured workers were behind him. It was at this point that some type of ‘arc flashing’ occurred.”

“To rehabilitate and operate independent hydro facilities [has been] the primary goal of Ware River Power Inc. since its inception in 1980,” Lucas Wright and the firm’s founder, David Wright, wrote in a newsletter in 2007.

According to that newsletter article, History and Present State of Hydro Power in New England, the company owns and operates five dams, which generate more than two megawatts (enough electricity for 2000 houses).


Hugh Hoagland

does research and testing of PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Hugh is a Sr. Consultant at ArcWear and Sr. Partner at e-Hazard. Read more about Hugh.

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