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Distribution line technician electrocuted by conductor in contact with 7200-volt power line, April 20, 1989.

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 89-36, 1989 Sep; :1-7
A 44 year old male distribution line technician was electrocuted and a second distribution line technician received severe electrical burns when a new conductor they were installing contacted an existing, energized 7200 volt power line. The victim was one of 100 distribution line technicians employed by an electrical contractor which had been in operation for 43 years and employed 550 workers. The contractor had no written safety policy or safety program, but adhered to the safety practices of any company for which they did contract work. The current contract called for the company to assist a local utility in converting an existing single phase 7200 volt distribution system into a three phase system by installing two new conductors. The victim and a coworker were stationed at the base of the pole at the end of the fourth span, preparing to pull the slack out of the new conductor by hand. The conductor became snagged in the topped out cedar trees in the first span. The victim and his coworker, not knowing this, pulled with enough force on the conductor to flip it up into the energized conductor. Neither man was wearing the required rubber gloves or rubber overshoes at the time of the incident. The coworker was wearing leather gloves and the victim was working bare handed. It was recommended that nonconductive drag lines be attached to the conductors being installed for use by employees during sagging operations, especially when performing these operations by hand.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-89-36; Region-4; Electrical-hazards; Accident-analysis; Electrical-workers; Safety-practices; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Protective-clothing
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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