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Electrical lineman dies after falling 35 feet to the ground from a burning aerial bucket in South Carolina, June 30, 1990.

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 90-35, 1990 Dec; :1-7
This report concerned the death of a 37 year old lineman who died of injuries sustained when he attempted to jump from a burning aerial bucket and fell 35 feet to the ground. He was employed by an electrical contracting company which was installing new utility poles parallel to an existing three phase electrical system, and transferring the 14,200 volt powerlines to the new utility poles. The lineman was adjusting the slack in the middle phase of a three phase powerline. The hydraulic hose attached to the impact wrench he was using burst. Apparently, the metal reinforced hydraulic hose had simultaneously contacted two of the energized phases, and the heat generated by resistance melted the hose. Hydraulic fluid spraying from the hose ignited, covering part of the aerial bucket in flames. As the lineman was moving the aerial bucket away from the powerlines, he lost power to the controls. He attempted to escape by jumping laterally from the bucket's edge to an adjacent earthen bank about 15 feet away. However, his foot caught on the lip of the bucket, and he fell 35 feet straight down to the ground. He died 5 days later of head injuries. It is recommended that metal reinforced hydraulic hoses not be installed on any part of the boom, aerial bucket, or hydraulic attachments on aerial bucket trucks that may be used near powerlines; that fluids used to power hydraulic hand tools be fire resistant; and that hydraulic hoses be installed in such a manner that the flow of hydraulic oil can be stopped by the worker in the aerial bucket.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-90-35; Accident-analysis; Electrical-hazards; Traumatic-injuries; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Fire-hazards; Head-injuries; Occupational-accidents
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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