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Supervisor dies following electrical fire, October 16, 1988.

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 89-09, 1989 Mar; :1-4
On November 24, 1988, a 45 year old male hydroelectric supervisor died as a result of massive burns sustained in an electrical fire on October 16, 1988. The employer was a large textile firm with 800 employees. On the day of the incident the victim and an apprentice went to one of the hydroelectric facilities to calibrate an analog meter which monitored the level of voltage being generated. Both workers were wearing dress type clothing as this task was performed on Sundays when the textile mill was closed. The victim had a large, high capacity volt ohmmeter in his service truck. However, because the supply leads he was planning on testing were conducting only approximately 32 volts, he decided to used a small pocket size volt ohmmeter. While the apprentice was holding the small volt ohmmeter in his hands, the victim extended the leads into the high voltage area in an attempt to take a reading. In doing so he inadvertently contacted a high voltage line. The volt ohmmeter overheated, and the apprentice dropped it onto exposed high voltage buss bars. This created a short circuit and electrical fire which ignited the clothing of both workers. The incident was observed by another worker who put out the fire and called for help. The victim suffered third degree burns over 40% of his body and burns to the respiratory system; he died 5 weeks later, apparently of an infection. Recommendations include the use of electrical test instruments adequate to deal with any current which may be encountered, use of appropriate personal protective equipment, and prominently marking work areas containing high voltage lines.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-89-09; Accident-prevention; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-workers; Textiles-industry; Electric-power-generation
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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