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Maryland steelworker electrocuted when he contacted energized toaster oven casing in employee lunchroom - Maryland, August 17, 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 90-37, 1991 Jan; :1-6
This report concerned the death of a 53 year old steelworker who was electrocuted when he contacted the energized case of a toaster oven in the employee lunchroom at a steel manufacturing facility. He was employed by a major steel company with 8000 workers. On the day of the incident, the day shift was conducting normal daily operations. A crew of four workers including the victim had been performing maintenance on a tundish. The crew decided to take a break. The victim walked to the lunch room and sat on a wooden bench next to a floor model air conditioner approximately 30 inches tall. The toaster oven was on top of the air conditioner, and plugged into a 120 volt electric circuit. The victim was sweating profusely and wearing a short sleeved shirt. He rested his right forearm on top of the air conditioner. His right arm contacted the energized casing of the toaster oven while his right calf was in contact with the grounded air conditioning unit. The current traveled from the toaster oven, through the victim to the grounded air conditioner case. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital. Reverse insertion of the toaster oven's nonpolarized plug in the polarized receptacle caused a condition known as reversed polarity, so that current flowed through the element without the switch being turned on. The heating element in the toaster oven had been previously damaged and was in contact with the oven casing. It is recommended that employers periodically inspect all areas of their facility for hazards and apply appropriate control measures.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-90-37; Accident-analysis; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-charge; Electrical-equipment
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
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