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Concrete Finisher Electrocuted When Bull Float Contacted an Energized Power Line

Michigan Case Report: 16MI104


In the summer of 2016, a male concrete finisher in his 30s was electrocuted when the handle of the 29-foot-long metal bull float he was using contacted an energized 7,200 volt power line. The decedent and his coworkers were performing concrete finishing work for a residential driveway.  The decedent was facing south, finishing the concrete driveway and the power lines were at his back (north) when the incident occurred. A line of brush was approximately 8 feet away from him under the power lines, which may have required him to elevate the bull float handle rather than pull it in a more horizontal position. The decedent was wearing non-electrical rated rubber boots over his leather work boots, vinyl work gloves, hard hat and safety glasses. When the bull float handle contacted the overhead line, the decedent fell forward, letting go of the pole. The utility company measured the height of the two overhead lines after the incident. The bottom neutral line was 17 feet high and the 7,200-volt primary line was 23-feet high vertically and 24 feet from the edge of the concrete forms. There were two visible impact burn points on the wire. One was a 1.5-2-inch width of the bull float pole and the second contact was approximately 2.3-3.0 feet long where the pole may have slid along the wire. Emergency response was called and the decedent was transported to a local hospital where he died.

MIFACE identified the following key and possibly contributing factors:

  • Unfamiliarity with residential jobsites and associated hazards relating to nearby, aboveground
    power lines.
  • Failure to identify and assess power lines as hazards and make appropriate
    recommendations to employees regarding work practices and equipment.
  • Use of conductive bull float handles.

Concrete Finisher Electrocuted When Bull Float Contacted an Energized Power Line, Michigan [PDF 1,305 KB]