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Eversource facing $333,000 in penalties from OSHA citation after deadly Beacon Hill manhole explosion

Fabio Pires, 31, died in the July 2022 explosion.

A manhole exploded on Bowdoin Street Beacon Hill on July 12, 2022 and killed one Eversource worker. (David Ryan/Globe Staff)

OSHA announced Thursday that it is citing Eversource Energy in connection with a Beacon Hill manhole explosion that killed one worker last summer.

The New England utilities company is now facing over $333,000 in penalties for five workplace safety violations.

What happened

On July 12, 2022, OSHA said in a news release, two Eversource employees were doing maintenance work on electrical equipment inside an underground electrical vault at 28 Bowdoin St.

As one employee put the equipment back into place, OSHA said, an arc flash and blast happened inside the vault. That employee suffered severe burns and later died.

According to The Boston Globe, that worker was 31-year-old Fabio Pires, a Cape Verde native who moved to the U.S. in 1999. He lived with his mother in Brockton and had been working for Eversource for six years at the time of his death.


Pires and the other worker, who was also injured that day, were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment after the blast, the Globe reported. Pires died from his injuries on Oct. 11.

“We remain deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague Fabio Pires following the tragic incident in Downtown Boston last summer,” an Eversource spokeswoman told the Globe Thursday.

“Safety is the most fundamental aspect of our everyday focus to provide reliable energy service, and we always strive to lead by example in accordance with industry best practices.”

OSHA’s findings

OSHA investigators found that Eversource made several mistakes.

Firstly, the company did not fully de-energize the electrical equipment or follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations when its employees were doing maintenance work, OSHA said.

Secondly, OSHA said, Eversource’s estimate of the heat energy employees would be exposed to if an arc flash and blast occurred was inaccurate.

Thirdly, it said, Eversource didn’t adequately train its employees on electrical equipment hazards, provide rescue equipment, or test oxygen levels before the employees entered the vault.

“Eversource could have prevented this arc flash and blast – and its tragic outcome – by ensuring effective and necessary training, procedures, and work practices were provided and followed,” OSHA Area Director James Mulligan said in the release. “The company knew the hazards related to this type of high voltage equipment, yet it failed to safeguard its employees as the law requires.”


OSHA is citing Eversource for two willful and three serious violations, for a total of $333,560 in proposed penalties.

Eversource’s response

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Eversource told the Globe Thursday it disagrees with OSHA’s findings and characterizations of the situation.

“While we disagree with the conclusions reached by OSHA as well as the characterizations of our actions, we share a determination in learning from what happened to prevent future tragedies and will continue to respond accordingly as this process becomes final,” an Eversource spokesperson said.

“We continue to work closely with our union leadership, industry experts, and our workforce on additional safety enhancements in all we do to prevent any future reoccurrence and ensure the safety of both our employees and the public we serve.”

The company has 15 business days to pay the penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or dispute OSHA’s findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.       


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