Two American Refining Group (ARG) employees were injured early Wednesday when an electrical arc flash occurred as they were working on electrical equipment at the plant.
Sara Furlong, executive communications coordinator at ARG, said information released by Don Keck, senior vice president of operations, stated the incident occurred about 6:30 a.m. in the motor control center, or MCC, of the crude unit. Furlong said two male employees, who were not identified, were working in the facility, which is undergoing expansion due to expanding electrical requirements at the refinery. The crude unit is located in the plant between North Kendall Avenue and Mill Street in Bradford. The incident did not disrupt operations at the plant.
“They were doing routine work at the crude unit” when the arc flash occurred with the equipment, Furlong said. After the arc flash, which did not cause a fire, the employee with less severe injuries was able to radio for assistance.
“They were both injured, one was taken by ambulance to Bradford Regional Medical Center and the other was flown by Mercy Flight medical helicopter to (Erie County Medical Center) in Buffalo,” Furlong said. She could not provide details on the injuries sustained by the men.
Responding to the incident was an in-house first responder team from ARG as well as two ambulances from the Bradford City Fire Department. In addition, members of the Derrick City Volunteer Fire Department set up a landing zone for the helicopter in the Bradford Mall parking lot.
Furlong said the individual taken to Bradford Regional was treated and released later Wednesday morning, while the other individual remained hospitalized in Buffalo with non-life threatening injuries. Furlong said the families of both men were immediately contacted after the incident.
Furlong said the plant had not experienced any lost time with its employees due to injuries since August of 2012.
“Safety is number one in importance here at ARG,” she continued. “We’re always trying to find new ways to improve safety.”
Furlong said an investigation is currently being conducted by the refinery’s in-house safety personnel to determine the cause of the incident.
In addition, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were at the refinery following the incident to investigate, and company officials were able to provide all required information.
“We expect further inquiry from OSHA and are prepared to fully comply,” she remarked.
She said the employees at the refinery were very upset by the incident and will have access to a counselor provided through the Employee Assistance Program at the plant.
Furlong said Jeannine Schoenecker, president and chief operating officer at ARG, traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., to be with the injured employee and his family. For her part, Schoenecker said her main concern at this point are the two employees.
“Our only focus right now is our employees and their families,” Schoenecker said. “We just want to make sure they’re OK.”