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Tree trimming/removal worker electrocuted after making indirect contact with a 8000 volt overhead power line.

NIOSH 1992 Sep; :1-4
A 44-year-old female (victim) tree trimming/removal worker was electrocuted when she made indirect contact with a 8000V overhead power line. The incident occurred as a tree was being prepared for removal from beneath overhead primary (8000V) and secondary (240V) power lines at a private residence. The secondary line was 6 feet below the primary line. A boomed truck equipped with a one-man fiberglass bucket was being used to trim the tree. The west side of the tree was trimmed without incident. Because of heavy rain the night before, the truck could not be moved to the other side of the power lines to trim the other side of the tree. The operator of the bucket, therefore, attempted to maneuver it between the primary and secondary lines. The boom made contact with the upper 8000V line just as the ground worker was reaching for a chain saw sitting on the truck. The truck became energized when the boom contacted the primary line and the worker, completing the circuit to ground, was electrocuted. Despite quick medical response, she died of the injuries she received. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. request that power to overhead lines be shut down when it is necessary to work in close (within 10 feet) proximity to them; 2. use personal protective equipment such as blankets, mats, or line hoses to insulate power lines or cover booms likely to contact power lines with a sheath of non-conductive plastic; and 3. ensure that ground personnel stand clear of equipment which could become energized while performing work near overhead power lines.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Electricity; Electrocutions; Electrical-conductivity; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Personal-protective-equipment; Forestry-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-92MN012; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health