A 19-year-old machine operator (the victim) was electrocuted at a textile plant when he contacted an energized electrical conductor inside the 570-volt control panel of a sueder machine. Prior to the incident, the victim had been operating two sueder machines for approximately 9 to 10 hours. The 5- and 10-horsepower motors in the two machines had a regular tendency to overheat when heavy cloth was processed; heavier-weight material increased the tension on the machines' rollers, producing added friction and heat. Overheating of the motors would trip the overload relays and shut down the machines. The control panel covers on the two machines had previously been modified to increase heat dissipation; however, on the day preceding the incident, the cover had been removed altogether on machine #7, without authorization. On the day of the incident, the victim apparently attempted to cool the uncovered electrical equipment inside the control panel of machine #7 with a stream of compressed air from an air hose. The metal nozzle of the hose contacted an energized conductor inside the control panel. Current successively passed through the nozzle, the victim's hand, chest, and other hand to ground, through one of the other machines that the victim was touching. This caused his electrocution. NIOSH investigators concluded that, in order to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1) ensure that all electrical control panel covers are secured (locked) against unauthorized removal, and only qualified/designated personnel have access to the control panel; 2) evaluate their current safety program and incorporate specific procedures and training designed to enable workers to recognize, report, and avoid hazards, especially electrical hazards (e.g., exposed energized conductors); 3) review and implement engineering controls designed to prevent electrical motors from overheating, thereby eliminating the need for hand-held metal air nozzles to cool electrical conductors.
Machine-operators; Machine-operation; Electricity; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electrical-shock; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Training; Electrocutions; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries