City Electric Maintenance Worker Electrocuted While Installing Lines for Security Cameras – Ohio
NIOSH FACE Report 2019-01
July 29, 2021
On June 17, 2019, a 48-year-old city electric maintenance worker was electrocuted, while installing lines for security cameras along a residential area cul-de-sac. The electric maintenance worker arrived at the city workshop at 7 am and was instructed to install approximately 2,000 feet of triplex service wire on the light poles along a residential street for police surveillance cameras. The electric maintenance worker arrived at the work site at 10:24 am, with 2,000 feet of triplex service wire on a roll and placed the boom truck under light pole #1. He proceeded to install the triplex service wire on the first light pole connecting to light pole #2. According to a GPS tracker in the elevated bucket truck, the electric maintenance worker turned the elevated bucket truck around and drove up the street to position the truck in front of a newly placed camera pole. The 1,300 volt electric power lines running to the housing development were adjacent to the newly placed camera pole and beyond these lines were 3-phase 7,200 volt power lines. The electric maintenance worker got in the basket and raised it to approximately 28 feet. He began pulling some triplex service wire and installing it on the security pole. It is believed the worker did not realize his proximity to the power lines while performing this task and contacted his right shoulder with the energized power line. At 1:32 pm 911 was contacted because a residential home had experienced flickering lights and heard a loud noise. At the scene, the responders from the fire department found a truck with a raised basket in the air and a hard hat on the street. Once the fire department ladder truck was raised above the basket, the responders saw the electric maintenance worker laying on the floor of the basket. There was indication that a power line had arced, burnt through, and landed on the ground. The electric maintenance worker had signs of electrical burns on his right shoulder, hand, and clothing. He was pronounced dead on the scene at 2:28 pm.
Occupational injuries and fatalities are often the result of one or more contributing factors or key events in a larger sequence of events that ultimately result in the injury or fatality. NIOSH investigators identified the following unrecognized hazards as key contributing factors in this incident:
- Proximity to energized power lines
- Placement of bucket truck and pole
- Lack of lone/remote worker assignment safety assessment
- Lack of hazard identification and situational awareness
- Non-typical job task
- Lack of safety standard operating procedures
- Lack of appropriate PPE
- Lack of training
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
- Prior to assigning work, employers should determine appropriate safety distances while working near electrical power line hazards.
- Employers should develop, implement, and train on hazards, safety, and communication plans for lone workers.
- Employers should provide competent and qualified person training to enable workers in high risk occupations to assess routine and non-routine job tasks for job site hazards to determine appropriate safety precautions and PPE.
- Employers should implement pre-work hazard identification with corrective action/peer-check, self-check and daily safety talks that address hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.
- Employers should develop periodic and regular testing, inspection and maintenance of elevated work platforms.
- Employers should train and evaluate employees on the selection, inspection, and safe operation of elevated bucket trucks.
- Prior to assigning work, employers should identify and establish safe work practices such as lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an institute within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. In 1982, NIOSH initiated the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. FACE examines the circumstances of targeted causes of traumatic occupational fatalities so that safety professionals, researchers, employers, trainers, and workers can learn from these incidents. The primary goal of these investigations is for NIOSH to make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences. These NIOSH investigations are intended to reduce or prevent occupational deaths and are completely separate from the rulemaking, enforcement and inspection activities of any other federal or state agency. Under the FACE program, NIOSH investigators interview persons with knowledge of the incident and review available records to develop a description of the conditions and circumstances leading to the deaths in order to provide a context for the agency’s recommendations. The NIOSH summary of these conditions and circumstances in its reports is not intended as a legal statement of facts. This summary, as well as the conclusions and recommendations made by NIOSH, should not be used for the purpose of litigation or the adjudication of any claim. For further information, visit the program website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/ or call toll free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).