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Construction laborer electrocuted after handling damaged energized extension cord in Virginia, October 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 91-05, 1991 Mar; :1-9
The case of a 19 year old construction laborer who was electrocuted upon handling a damaged extension cord was examined. The employer in this incident was a construction company that had been in business for 10 months building docks, piers and waterfront bulkheads for private residences. A crew was installing a waterfront bulkhead for a private residence to serve as an erosion control retaining wall. After the bulkhead timbers had been established, the workers drilled weep holes for drainage in the bulkhead about 6 inches above the surface of the water using a 6 amp electric drill. They used two 100 foot electrical extension cords to reach the bulkhead from the residence. The receptacle was not equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter. One of the cords had been damaged and in repairing it the wires in the receptacle were cross wired, establishing a reversed polarity condition. The ground wire inside the plug had pulled loose from its connection. The victim and a coworker had complained of shocks while using this cord some days earlier. After plugging the damaged extension cord into the receptacle end of the good extension cord, the victim laid out the damaged cord which was now energized as he walked toward the bulkhead. Presumably he contacted the receptacle end of the cord and was electrocuted. He was found in the lake about 30 minutes later. Recommendations were made concerning the good repair of all electrical equipment and the need for established safety procedures.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-91-05; Accident-analysis; Work-practices; Construction-workers; Power-tools; Electrical-shock; Electrical-hazards; Construction-Search
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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