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Well driller electrocuted when pipe on crane cable contacts 12,000-volt overhead powerline in Virginia, August 11, 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 90-38, 1991 Jan; :1-9
A 33 year old male well driller was electrocuted when a metal pipe that was being hoisted with a truck mounted crane contacted a three phase, 12,000 volt overhead powerline. The employer was a well drilling company. The victim and a coworker had been assigned the task of repairing a submersible pump and other electrical related equipment for an existing water well at a private residence. The well was about 100 feet from an interstate highway and inside a fenced pasture. The pasture was intersected by three separate and parallel overhead powerlines, one of which was a three phase, 12,000 volt line directly above the well head, 31 feet 6 inches above ground. The victim positioned the truck mounted crane beneath the powerline. Using a hand held remote control pendant, he fully extended the end of the boom 36 feet above the ground. The crane cable was attached to a 1 inch diameter galvanized pipe that ran to the pump inside the well. As the victim raised the pipe, it contacted the powerline phase directly above, energizing the crane, including the hand held control pendant. The current passed through the victim to the ground. It is recommended that all jobsites be carefully surveyed to identify potential hazards; that cranes not be operated within 10 feet of energized powerlines; that boomed vehicle operators be trained in the safe operation of these vehicles; that the local utility be contacted to deenergize the lines; that a safety program be adopted; and that consideration be given to retrofitting truck mounted cranes with electrically isolated crane control systems.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-90-38; Accident-analysis; Electrical-hazards; Occupational-accidents; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Construction-Search
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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