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Distribution line technician dies after contacting energized conductor, January 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 89-27, 1989 Jun; :1-6
A 37 year old male distribution line technician died from a secondary infection 37 days after receiving third degree burns when he contacted an energized conductor while repositioning a bucket to perform maintenance on a power line. The employer was a power line construction and maintenance firm with 325 employees. The firm provides comprehensive safety programs, with safety meetings held each Monday morning and tailgate meetings held daily before work. On the day of the incident the victim and a coworker were replacing power line fuses to match an anticipated increased load on a line. The victim had changed the fuse on the first phase of the circuit. He repositioned the bucket to obtain access to the center of the three phases. Two sections of unused line hose for covering the energized conductor were in the bucket with the victim. The victim attached one end of the jumper wire to the center phase and placed the other end of the energized jumper inside the fiberglass bucket with him, in violation of company policy. The uninsulated end of this jumper came into contact with the victim's right thigh and his upper back came into contact with the conductor he had previously worked on. It was recommended that guarding or shielding be used whenever potential for contact with energized conductors exists, that bucket trucks be positioned to provide the best access to the power lines being serviced, that power lines be deenergized prior to working in their vicinity, and that a ground observer watch the operation for potential problems.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-89-27; Region-4; Electrical-industry; Accident-analysis; Electrical-workers; Electrical-hazards; Safety-practices; Personal-protective-equipment; Safety-equipment; Electric-power-transmission-lines
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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