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Progress Energy fined for Wilmington worker's death

Posted September 15, 2011

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— State regulators have fined Progress Energy $31,500 after finding nine serious workplace safety violations at the L.V. Sutton Steam Electric Plant in Wilmington, where a worker was killed in March.

Cory Rogers, 24, was doing maintenance on one of the plant's three coal-fired steam units when an explosion occurred. The unit had been offline for repairs.

Inspectors with the state Department of Labor said Progress Energy was using equipment that could spark a fire or explosion from flammable gases or dust. The company's workers also didn't properly purge hydrogen gas from the area before working on the steam unit, according to the citation.

Each of the nine violations carries a $3,500 penalty, which is half of the maximum allowed under state law.

Progress Energy has 15 business days to appeal the fine or request a meeting with state regulators to negotiate a settlement.

The Sutton plant, located off U.S. Highway 412 north of Wilmington, is one of four coal-fired power plants slated by Progress for retirement over the next few years as the utility converts to cheaper, cleaner gas power.

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  • SailbadTheSinner Sep 15, 2011

    I’ve had the privilege of investigating a number of workplace electrical accidents, for both the plaintiff and for the defense.

    Sadly, in most cases, the actual cause of the event is the worker himself.

    It’s quite rare that an accident stands as an isolated event in time. There are generally multiple pathways to the actual event, the interruption of any of which would prevent the accident. In the vast majority of cases the actual ‘victim’ of the accident could have prevented it with very simple action or non-action.

    So it goes ….

    Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, the employer, or more properly, the employer’s insurance company, ends up paying….

    I know absolutely nothing of the details of this particular accident.

    I merely point out that I personally – based on about 40 years as a working engineer - would be very reluctant to bash Progress Energy before I did a bit of research into the specific details.

    STS

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 15, 2011

    The problem is the fine don't even cover the cost of the state to do the investigation..

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 15, 2011

    Yep that amount could come out of petty cash. Be surpise how much this will shake em up....

  • tinyredbird66 Sep 15, 2011

    Let me tell you how COLD Progress Energy is! We were 1 day past our due date, called in to them (because we couldn't find our bill), asked them the due date and amount. The guy who claimed he was a supervisor told us we missed our due date by 1 day and he had already dispatched someone out to our house to cut our power off (this was at 8:30 pm), and that they wouldn't wait until the next morning when we could get there to pay. I told him my husband was on oxygen and he said "well if he dies, we will dispatch an ambulance for you". I about flipped out! It was one thing that we were past due for 1 day (our fault), but totally a different thing to say things like that! And, that was not all that he said. Progress Energy has everyone in their hand. I called back and spoke to two different supervisors who then apologized and said they were going to investigate, but told me they DO NOT dispatch a shut-off at that time! I'm still waiting for my return call about this situation! They

  • Paul M Sep 15, 2011

    "I'm sure the family will sue and receive a larger settlement. The state can only give the fines directed by law. They found 9 infractions and fined the max of $3,500 per one. This money goes to the state, not the victim's family."
    HowManyOunces

    please re read, they were find 1/2 the max

  • sunshine1040 Sep 15, 2011

    Guess where Progress Energy will get the money to pay their fines. Same plase they get all their money. Folks on Progress Energy there go your rates again

  • TITAN4X4 Sep 15, 2011

    Please, feel free to move to a state with unions. We really won't mind. suki

    Amen! Union goons put my granfathers trucking company out of business....

  • Ambygirl Sep 15, 2011

    Thank you HowManyOunces. I was about to post the same thing.

  • HowManyOunces Sep 15, 2011

    "What a meaningless fine to a company the size of Progress Engergy. Another good reason this state needs unions."

    I'm sure the family will sue and receive a larger settlement. The state can only give the fines directed by law. They found 9 infractions and fined the max of $3,500 per one. This money goes to the state, not the victim's family.

  • suki Sep 15, 2011

    Please, feel free to move to a state with unions. We really won't mind.

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