A construction crew consisting of a supervisor, three class A linemen (including the victim), a first class lineman, a groundman, and two truck drivers were assigned the task of correcting a malfunction in a de-energized three-phase powerline. When the crew arrived at the worksite, they found that one of the three phases had broken and fallen to the ground. The supervisor instructed the victim to relocate the damaged phase on the crossarm of the pole to better balance the load on the crossarm. As the victim began to climb the pole he was assured by the supervisor that the powerlines had been de-energized. When he attempted to relocate the damaged line he contacted another phase, was shocked, and slumped backwards, prevented from falling by his safety belt. The powerlines at the worksite had been energized by backfeed electrical energy from a portable gas generator being used on the circuit. NIOSH investigators concluded that, in order to prevent future similar occurrences, employers and employees must: 1) ensure that established procedures for powerline maintenance work are followed at all times; 2) take special precautions to guard against feedback electrical energy, including testing and grounding powerlines prior to the initiation of work.
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