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28 Year-old electronic technician dies from electrical burns in Georgia, August 18, 1986.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 87-31, 1987 Mar; :1-5
A flashover explosion occurred in a 20 kilovolt switch compartment which caused the death of a 28 year old electronic technician on August 18, 1986. The employer was a large municipal transportation company with an extensive safety program. Preventive maintenance was being carried out on the alternating current switch gear in a rail car maintenance shop. The upper compartment of the primary switch contained three knife switches which disengage the incoming power. After opening the three switches in the upper compartment, which deenergized the lower compartment, the victim started to clean the upper compartment area by spraying cleaning fluid from an aerosol spray can onto the circuitry. The aerosol provided a conductive plasma for the electric current which passed through the spray and the victim's right hand, across his chest, and exited his left upper arm which was in contact with the center switch blade. The current exceeded 3,000 amperes of phase current and 1,200 amperes of neutral current. The victim died 24 hours later due to electrical burns. Recommendations include performing maintenance on energized equipment only with adequate personal protective equipment and devices, securing the compartment door to the primary disconnect for the power company feeder lines, preparation of a check list to verify deenergization prior to maintenance, outlawing the use of aerosol spray cans in any high voltage rooms, and reemphasizing company safety rules for workers performing hazardous jobs.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-87-31; Electrical-systems; Electrical-workers; Electrical-shock; Safety-practices; Maintenance-workers; Accident-analysis
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division