The U.S. Occupational Safety Administration has cited Southborough, Mass.-based utility company Eversource Energy Service Co. with five alleged serious and willful violations it said resulted in a worker’s death last year. The agency has proposed $333,560 in penalties related to the accident.

Eversource workers were performing maintenance on electrical equipment in an underground electrical vault in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood on July 12, 2022, when an arc flash and blast occurred, severely burning an employee, OSHA said in its Jan. 12 announcement of the proposed fines.

The Utility Workers Union of America identified the worker as 31-year-old Fabio Erickson Gomes Pires, who was a member of Local 369 and worked as an underground operating mechanic for Eversource. According to the union, he was born in Cape Verde and immigrated to the United States in 1999, also graduating from the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in 2011 with a degree in electrical engineering and joining Eversource in 2016. 

Pires was placed in a medically induced coma and died on Oct. 17, the union said. Another worker also was injured.

Caroline Pretyman, a spokesperson for Eversource, said in a statement that the firm was "deeply saddened" by the fatality "following the tragic accident,” adding that "safety is the most fundamental aspect of our everyday focus to provide reliable energy service.”

In proposing two willful and three serious violations against the firm, however, OSHA Area Director James Mulligan said in a statement that it could have prevented the arc flash and blast by ensuring necessary training and procedures were provided and followed.

“The company knew the hazards related to this type of high voltage equipment, yet it failed to safeguard its employees as the law requires,” he said.

Pretyman said in the Eversource statement that the firm disagrees with OSHA’s conclusions and its characterizations of the company’s actions, but adds that the company shares “a determination in learning from what happened.”

OSHA said the company has 15 days from receiving the citations to comply or contest the findings and proposed fines.