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Apprentice lineman electrocuted in Virginia, March 12, 1987.

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 87-42, 1987 Jun; :1-4
While removing grounds from a 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission circuit, a lineman trainee was electrocuted. The victim was employed by an electric utility company with 400 workers, a full time safety director, and a comprehensive safety program. The man was part of a crew replacing a 3 foot section of a power line damaged by a gunshot. The line was part of one of two 230kV circuits suspended from a 120 foot high steel tower. The circuit with the damaged line was deenergized before the trainee and the lineman climbed the tower. Grounds were attached on both sides of the work area from the line being repaired to the tower. By the time the work was completed, the area was in darkness. The lineman removed the line end of one of the grounds and shook the wire to show the victim which ground he had removed. The victim was then instructed to remove the tower end of that line. He grasped the tower end of the ground still attached to the line and the induced current present in the line traveled through him, causing his death. Despite resuscitation efforts, the victim was pronounced dead 2 hours later. Company policy required removal of all line ends before removal of tower ends of grounds. It is recommended that established safe work procedures must be followed at all times. Line ends for all ground wires must be removed before any tower ends are touched. Floodlights on the truck were not used in spite of dark conditions. Proper illumination of work areas is recommended to provide additional safety.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-87-42; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Electrical-shock; Electrical-hazards; Safety-practices; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Electrical-workers
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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