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Lineman electrocuted after contacting 7600-volt powerline during attempt to restore electrical power in Tennessee, December 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 91-10, 1991 May; :1-8
The case of a 33 year old lineman who was electrocuted after contacting a 7600 volt powerline during an attempt to restore electrical power during a storm was examined. The employer was an electrical utility cooperative that employed 75 full time workers, most of whom were linemen. The employer has a written safety policy and comprehensive safety program. On the evening of the accident a storm occurred in the area, causing heavy rain showers and intermittent wind gusts. The workers came upon a fallen tree and about 600 feet upline was a utility pole where the single phase powerline branched off from a three phase powerline. The workers decided to cut the downed conductors, free the conductors from the fallen tree, take the slack out of the primary and neutral conductors using a come along chain hoist, splice the conductors back together above the fallen trees, and remove the jumper cable. Apparently the victim put on his protective helmet and leather work gloves, leaving his lineman gloves in his truck. He raised the insulated aerial bucket but did not ground the line. Having cut the neutral and primary conductors, the victim picked up the cable grip end of the come along chain hoist and reached up toward the dangling primary conductor. The dangling end must have contacted the neutral jumper cable, providing the electric current with a path to ground through the chest of the victim. It was recommended that linemen follow established safe work procedures to deenergize, ground, and verify through testing the state of the electrical lines; that all linemen are familiar with the operation of powerline components; and that scheduled and unscheduled jobsite safety inspections be made regularly.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-91-10; Accident-analysis; Electrical-workers; Electrical-shock; Electrical-hazards; Work-practices; 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: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division