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HVAC contractor and employee electrocuted in crawlspace - North Carolina, August 30, 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 94-17, 1994 Dec; :1-5
The electrocution deaths of a 46 year old male heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor and his 23 year old employee were reported. The employer had been contracted to install a new combination heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit at a private residence. The employer had hired a part time worker who had worked for him in the past. The job consisted of installing duct work throughout the residence and setting the unit in place in a 38 inch high crawl space under one end of the house. The employee was using an electric drill to drive screws through aluminum straps into floor joists. As he drilled one of the screws the sharp edge of the aluminum strap contacted the house wiring, damaging its insulation. The drill bit and the strap became energized, completing an electrical circuit through the first victim and pipes in the area to ground. The contractor was summoned by the homeowner, who had heard noise in the crawl space. When the contractor entered the crawl space and grabbed the first victim, he also became a part of the electrical circuit. Both men died of electrocution. Recommendations urge that employers conduct a job site survey before starting any work to identify hazards, that safety programs be developed in full, and that additional electrical safety training be provided to workers working with or around electrical current, including proper rescue procedures.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-94-17; Region-4; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Electrical-hazards; Construction-workers; Heating-systems; Construction-Search
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division