NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Electrician dies in North Carolina, July 27, 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 86-44, 1986 Sep; :1-5
An electrician died from burns received when an explosion occurred as he was making a live wire connection on a circuit breaker located in a six breaker panelboard which supplied power to an industrial park complex. He was employed by a light duty electrical contractor. The firm had no written safety policy or established safety program. He had been instructed by the foreman to install the top breaker first and the bottom breaker last. However, the victim secured the three breakers in the panelboard cabinet and began to wire the bottom breaker first. Having completed those connections, he then began to wire the middle breaker without replacing the cover on the bottom breaker. This allowed the energized line side connection points to remain exposed. The victim began feeding the wires to be used for the middle breaker connections through the upper portion of the panelboard cabinet. As he fed a wire through, its uninsulated tip touched an exposed energized connection point, resulting in an arc; the bottom breaker exploded. The victim suffered massive burns to 25 percent of his upper body and burns over 80 percent of his entire body. A helper was also burned. Recommendations arising out of this accident include reevaluating the design of panelboards, mandating the deenergizing of electrical systems prior to working on them, following safe work procedures when working in the presence of electrical energy, and monitoring the training of new employees.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-86-44; Region-4; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-shock; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Electrical-workers; Electrical-burns; Construction-Search
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