A 44-year-old male coating machine operator (the victim) was electrocuted while assisting a company electrician who was re-routing wires from one circuit breaker to another. The electrician discovered that a circuit breaker that served the coating machine was malfunctioning, and was in the process of moving the wires from the malfunctioning circuit breaker to an unused breaker located inside a panelboard. The victim had removed the front panel from the adjacent panelboard where the unused circuit breaker was located. Lockout/tagout procedures were not being used during this process because de-energization of the coating machine would have caused the coating solutions to cool and clog the machine parts. The electrician had run the wires from the malfunctioning circuit breaker up and over the top inside of the panelboard to the adjacent open panelboard. At that time, the victim asked if he should pull the wires through, and the electrician directed the victim to pull the wires. While reaching into the panelboard, the victim's left arm touched an energized busbar carrying 2000 amperes, and he was electrocuted. The electrician noticed the victim lying on the floor, with his hand still in the panelboard. The electrician kicked the victim's hand loose from the busbar, and called for help. Two workers in the area responded and began CPR procedures, until EMT's took over. The victim was transported to the local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Wisconsin FACE investigator concluded that, in order to prevent similar circumstances, employers should: 1. Ensure that only fully trained and qualified personnel are permitted to work with energized electrical sources, in accordance with OSHA requirements. 2. Develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive safety program which includes worker training in recognizing and avoiding hazards, especially electrical hazards.
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