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Laborer electrocuted in Virginia, August 10, 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 87-66, 1987 Oct; :1-6
The case of a laborer who was electrocuted when the mast of a well drilling rig he was operating came in contact with a 7200 volt overhead power line was examined. The victim was working for a residential and commercial drilling company with four employees. He was the son-in-law of the owner and had worked in the business for the past 4 years. The victim and a coworker were to drill a well. Access to the site was obtained by backing the drilling rig about 150 feet along a power line right of way beneath a 7200 volt, three phase electrical line suspended at 24 feet, and then backing off the right of way to the well site. The victim and coworker noted smoke coming from the tires of the drilling rig as the mast was being raised; they did not associate this with contact with the overhead power lines. When the victim attempted to enter the cab and shut down the rig, he provided a path to ground and was electrocuted. A job site survey conducted prior to operation would have identified the power lines as a hazard, and plans to avoid them could have been made. OSHA regulations call for a minimum clearance between electrical lines rated 50 kilovolts or below and any part of the crane or load of 10 feet. An observer should be present at any site where an overhead hazard is present to gauge the proximity of the wires to the equipment. The men were both at the rear of the vehicle, with the operator 36 feet from the tip of the mast, making it difficult to observe the position of the crane to the wires.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-87-66; Accident-analysis; Work-practices; Safety-research; Equipment-operators; Electrical-shock; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Construction-Search
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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