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Journeyman wireman electrocuted after contacting energized switchgear components at power plant - West Virginia, March 14, 1994.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 94-10, 1994 May; :1-6
A 23 year old male journeyman wireman was electrocuted when he contacted two phases of an energized buss inside a switchhouse at a utility company power facility. He was employed by an electrical contracting company which was one of two contractors installing an emissions control system at the powerplant. Although the contracting company normally used a lockout and tagout procedure, the utility company's tagout only policy was being used. The incident occurred in the facility electrical equipment building where workers were in the final stages of installing electrical components inside a 14 compartment switchhouse. The workers circuit breaker protecting the switchhouse's internal buss was isolated according to the power facility tagout procedures. The victim was wiping down individual compartments. Without the knowledge of the workers, the internal buss had been energized by power facility personnel. When the victim attempted to wipe down one of the compartments he contacted the A-phase buss terminal with his right hand and the C-phase buss terminal with his left hand. He was electrocuted. A coworker was knocked down by the blast, and suffered first degree burns. Another worker was burned trying to extinguish the victims burning clothing. Recommendations included implementing procedures to control hazardous electrical energy which include both lockout and tagout provisions, providing employees with voltage sensors, and installing hazard warning lights inside electrical equipment enclosures to warn of inadvertent energizing.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-94-10; Accident-analysis; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-workers; Safety-practices; Electrical-shock; Electric-power-generation; 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