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Hispanic laborer electrocuted after boom truck contacts overhead power line - North Carolina.

Struttmann-T; Koedam-RE
NIOSH 2005 Jun; :1-6
On November 3, 2004, a 44 year-old Hispanic laborer (the victim) was fatally injured after being electrocuted through indirect contact with a 7,200 volt overhead power line. A boom truck with an auger attached was turning a utility pole anchor in an anchor-setting process in preparation for a utility pole replacement. During the process, the anchor began to wobble and the extended boom contacted the overhead power line. Apparently unaware that the boom was in contact with the overhead power line, the victim grabbed the energized anchor with both hands in an attempt to stabilize it and remained in contact with the energized anchor until the boom was moved away from the power line. Electrical current moved through the victim's body from his hands to ground through his feet. The boom truck operator immediately called 911 on his cell phone and emergency medical services (EMS) arrived in about 4 minutes. CPR was immediately initiated and the victim was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. conduct a jobsite survey to identify potential hazards and develop and implement appropriate control measures for these hazards; 2. follow existing OSHA regulations and safe work practices concerning the operation of cranes or equipment in close proximity to overhead power lines, and take steps necessary to de-energize or insulate power lines before work begins; 3. ensure that when working near a high voltage overhead power line where visibility could be obstructed or clearances difficult to determine, an observer is used to help the operator maintain the required clearance; and, 4. develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program for all workers which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions. A written training plan should require training for all ground crew in electric utility operations.
Region-4; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Electrical-conductivity; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-industry; Electrical-shock; Electrical-workers; Electrocutions; Equipment-operators
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health