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Tree trimming groundsman electrocuted after contacting an energized aerial bucket truck in South Carolina, October 23, 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 91-03, 1991 Mar; :1-8
The case of a 27 year old male tree trimming groundsman who was electrocuted while contacting an aerial bucket truck was examined. He was employed by a tree service company that had been in operation for 42 years and employed 62 workers including 28 groundsmen. The company had written safety rules and procedures. At the time of the accident the victim was working with a crew to cut and clear brush from beneath the powerlines at ground level. The tree trimmer/bucket operator was working from the bucket of the aerial bucket truck clearing tree limbs away from the powerline. At the time of the accident the bucket had been raised between the neutral wire and the bottom phase of a 23,000 volt 3 phase powerline. The boom/bucket was extended through the powerline about 15 feet allowing the worker to climb out into a tree. The boom was inadvertently raised by the foreman while still positioned between the neutral wire and bottom phase, bringing the boom into contact with the powerline, electrocuting the victim who was standing on the ground in contact with the bucket truck. It was recommended that prework surveys be conducted to identify potential hazards, implement appropriate controls, and provide subsequent training to employees; that line clearance tree trimmers maintain minimum working distances from energized conductors as listed in OHSA and ANSI standards; that aerial bucket truck operators be trained in the safe operation of their vehicles; and that the local utility be contacted to deenergize or insulate powerlines in the vicinity.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-91-03; Accident-analysis; Work-practices; Electrical-shock; Electrical-hazards; 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