OSHA continues investigation – NBC Boston

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to investigate the cause of an underground transformer explosion from the state capitol building Tuesday night, injuring two utility workers.

The explosion occurred around 6 p.m. on Bowdoin Street while Eversource workers were doing routine maintenance in an underground electric basement, fire officials said. Two workers were injured but managed to get out of the basement under their basement. Fire officials said the accident is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as an industrial accident.

Eversource said in an update Wednesday that both employees are being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital; One for severe injuries caused by equipment flashing and one for smoke inhalation.

“The safety of our employees is always our priority,” an Eversource spokesperson said in a statement, noting that their team is also investigating. “Our focus remains on supporting both our employees and their families…We also want to thank the local Boston first responders for their prompt response and work at the scene last night.”

Boston Fire Commissioner Paul Burke said there was a malfunction in the equipment they were working on that apparently caused the transformer to explode.

“It’s a sad situation. Two workers are doing their job and have been injured in the course of their work. It’s very sad, so I hope they are doing well,” Burke said.

“Workplace safety can’t be an issue in the city of Boston,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday. “This is unacceptable and we will get to the truth of what happened here.”

A regional OSHA spokesperson also confirmed that the federal agency is investigating what happened.

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened an inspection operation at the Bowdoin Street accident yesterday. Inspection is underway.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to investigate the cause of an underground transformer explosion from the state capitol building Tuesday night, injuring two utility workers.

“The inspection will seek to determine if there have been any violations of workplace safety standards in relation to it,” the spokesperson continued.

Fire brigades worked with Eversource to cut the power and put out a fire linked to the explosion on Tuesday night. Crews continued to investigate the cause of the explosion Wednesday morning, while also checking for any hazardous materials and making repairs.

The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning that the nearby McCormack Building is closed due to an electrical problem caused by the explosion. Staff have been removed from the building. Eversource said electricity was restored at 6 a.m., so it wasn’t immediately clear why the building was still closed.

Witnesses described hearing a loud bang and seeing smoke and fire. A woman said she heard a worker scream. A man living nearby said he heard the explosion from his bedroom.

“Suddenly I heard a loud bang. I’m sitting on my bed and I look out my window and I see the manhole cover is burning, and all of a sudden I hear, ‘Bob bob boom boom,’ louder than anything,” John Frost told NBC10 Boston.

Another witness who lived across the street said that after hearing the noise, he looked outside and saw a man’s clothes falling off of him.

“I see smoke rising, I hear screeching, screeching, screeching, I see his co-worker running into the middle of the street, I see the man who’s all on fire, all on fire, running down the street,” Watch Jose Rosario said.

An underground explosion in Boston injured two Eversource workers.

Witness Chris Coyle said, “Basically, there was like an explosion like two doors down and then, like, all that smoke started pouring into the street. We just heard like knocking over and over. It was happening every two minutes.”

Initial reports came in the form of a manhole explosion, leading officials to ask the public to avoid the area due to fears there might be more. But fire officials later said the explosion was caused by the transformer. They were investigating what happened.

Pictures from the scene showed a large fire rescue response that closed the road near Bowdoin and Cambridge Streets.

The city has seen several problems with manholes in recent months. Earlier Tuesday, Boston firefighters briefly closed off Congress Avenue after smoke rose from a manhole cover on the corner of Quaker Lane.

In June, a woman was injured when manhole covers on High Street exploded from excessive pressure underground. Back in May, a fire broke out from two other hatches on Boylston Street, causing smaller explosions but no casualties.

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