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Protecting workers from electrocution caused by contact of cranes, haul trucks, and drill rigs with overhead powerlines: a new approach.

Cawley JC; Homce GT; Sacks HK; Yenchek MR
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :76-77
Overhead electric power lines present a serious electrocution hazard to crane, truck, and drill rig operators in the mining industry. Typically constructed using uninsulated conductors supported on towers or poles, overhead power lines are the most common means of overland electric power transmission and distribution. Frames of equipment in contact with energized overhead lines become elevated to a high voltage. Contact by workers from the "hot" frame to ground can cause serious injury in the form of electrical shock, burns or death. Between 1980 and 1997 at least 94 mobile equipment overhead line contact incidents were reported in the U.S. mining industry, with 114 injuries, 33% of them fatal. Most incidents involved cranes (47%), dump-bed trucks (24%), and drills (14%). In addition, an estimated 2300 overhead line contact accidents (total in all industries) occur each year in the U.S. An examination of accidents in the mining industry indicated that more than one-half of recent fatalities occurred when operators attempted to dismount vehicles in contact with overhead power lines or when nearby workers contacted the energized vehicle frame. The authors contend that widespread use of a simple device that alarms when a vehicle frame becomes energized could have prevented many of these fatalities. This presentation describes the results to date of a project to measure voltage differences and currents flowing on the vehicle frame as a result of accidental overhead line contact in cranes and dump-bed trucks. A practical, low-cost concept to detect the contact of mobile equipment with high voltage lines and warn those nearby is presented.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Mining industry; Mining equipment; Electrocutions; Electrical shock; Mine workers
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division