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Penalty reduced in power plant incident

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Alaska

One of the employers cited and fined for safety violations related to a high-pressure event last year on a multi-employer power plant expansion project in Alaska has reached a settlement with the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Section.

The settlement reduced the number of citations against Houston-based Universal Energy L.L.C. from 13 to five and fines from $182,000 to $50,000, a spokeswoman for the company said in an email to Business Insurance Friday. Several of the remaining citations are for administrative issues, she said.

Greg Cashen, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development, said the agency is unable to release information about open cases. Employers have 30 days once an agreement is reached to abate pending citations and remit payment for remaining fines. After all fines are paid and a safety officer verifies abatement, the case will be reviewed for closure, he said.

Universal Energy was one of three companies cited in the incident, which caused violent shaking of a steam piping system at the site, according to a statement released last month by the department when it levied $882,000 in fines and 24 citations against three employers.

“As a specialty services group, safety is a priority in all our project work,” Universal Energy said in a statement Thursday. “In over 20 years, UEI has logged over 1.4 million man-hours of services, with an impressive safety record of maintaining a recordable incident rate of zero, with no injuries received in the course of our work.”