Tree-care Worker Electrocuted While Trimming Branch Near Power Line
New Jersey Case Report: 13NJ074
Release Date: February 5, 2016
The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
A 39-year-old male tree-care worker was electrocuted after his power pole saw made contact with a 7,200-volt primary transmission line. The incident occurred on a residential property in southern NJ. On the day of the incident, the victim (who was also the company owner) and two coworkers, functioning as ground crew were trimming a large maple tree. The victim, working from an aluminum extension ladder approximately 30’ up in the tree, was using an extendable power pole saw (or stick saw) trimmer to cut branches adjacent to power lines. As the victim was preparing to cut a branch, the power pole saw contacted the power line. The current passed through him and went to ground via the ladder. He remained motionless for about 15 seconds, and then fell from the ladder. One of the ground crewmen attempted to catch the victim, and sustained a broken leg. The victim died 31 hours later; cause of death was high voltage electrocution.