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Four members of a maintenance crew electrocuted in California at a major naval installation, October 31, 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 87-12, 1986 Dec; :1-5
While moving a 30 foot high scaffold, contact was made with a 12,000 volt power line, killing four members of a maintenance crew at a naval installation and critically injuring another. The safety function at the naval base was a full time operation with a written policy and a comprehensive instruction program. The scaffold had a tubular welded frame and was about 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and 5 tiers high, about 28.5 feet. It was mounted on 5 inch rubber clad, aluminum wheels. A three phase 12,000 volt power line was located 27.5 feet above ground, 17.5 feet away from the left front corner of the building. The crew had finished painting one side of a building and was about to start on another. Time was allotted for the crew to dismantle and rebuild the scaffolding, but they elected not to do so. They moved the scaffold between the power line and a second scaffold with extended outriggers, which allowed less than 4 feet of clearance between the 12,000 volt line and the scaffolding. The scaffolding contacted the power line, electrocuting four of the men. Rescuers attempting to reach the men received shocks from the ground. Recommendations arising from this accident include a job site survey by supervisory personnel trained in hazard recognition prior to the start of work; the utilization of all allocated time to safely accomplish job assignments; and utilization of a safe working distance between scaffolding and power lines.
NIOSH-Author; Region-9; FACE-87-12; Electrical-hazards; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Electrical-shock; Accident-analysis; Painters; Construction-workers; Safety-practices
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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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