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Update: work-related electrocutions associated with hurricane Hugo - Puerto Rico.
MMWR 1989 Oct; 38(42):718-720
The results of an analysis of work related electrocutions occurring in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico were summarized. Hurricane Hugo crossed the northeastern part of Puerto Rico on September 18, 1989. After the hurricane, approximately 85% of Puerto Rico was without electric power because of damage to power lines and poles. Six electrocutions occurred during operations to restore power; five were occupational. A NIOSH Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology team assisted local public health officials in investigating the five occupational electrocution cases, who were 28, 30, 35, 38, and 42 year old males. Two incidents involved electric company employees whose job responsibilities did not normally involve work near energized lines. Two of the electrocutions resulted from the victims making contact with power lines that were assumed to be disconnected or deenergized, but which were receiving feedback current from portable generators. One fatality resulted from an electric lineman contacting a dangling, energized 4,800 volt powerline while working in a dark wooded area. One fatality occurred when a lineman working from a bucket truck inadvertently activated the control lever, causing the bucket to move into an adjacent power line. An editorial note discussed the conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Recommendations of the NIOSH investigators for prevention of such incidents were presented.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-accidents; Risk-factors; Electrical-shock; Accident-analysis; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-workers; Environmental-factors
Issue of Publication
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division