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Laborer electrocuted in Maryland, October 22, 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 87-09, 1987 Feb; :1-5
While digging with a pneumatic clay spade, a laborer was electrocuted when he contacted a 13 kilovolt underground power line. He was employed by a small company specializing in construction of caissons. This company was subcontracted on a construction job requiring the repair of the foundation of a tunnel between two buildings. Caissons were to be constructed below the tunnel foundation, and, after being filled with concrete, support the tunnel from below. Each hole was lined with steel casing, 30 inches in diameter. One worker would loosen material at the bottom of the hole with a pneumatic clay spade, and then load this material into a bucket which was raised to the surface. The shaft in which the victim was working was about 26 feet deep. A laborer was digging with the clay spade when he encountered the underground electric power line. The steel casing in the hole began vibrating and fire emerged from the top of the hole. Death was caused by electrocution, but the body was burned almost beyond recognition. Recommendations arising from this accident included the identification of all underground utilities prior to the start of drilling or excavating, the provision of accurate plans to contractors and subcontractors indicating underground power lines, the use of warning tape or other appropriate means to identify underground electrical power lines, and the development of a comprehensive safety program clearly documenting procedures for safe entry into confined spaces.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-87-09; Region-3; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-shock; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Tunnel-workers; Pneumatic-tools; Construction-workers; Construction-Search
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division