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Two equipment operators electrocuted when irrigation pipe made contact with an overhead electrical line in California.

Public Health Institute
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 94CA001, 1994 Nov; :1-3
A 53-year-old white, Hispanic, male equipment operator (decedent #1) and a 23-year-old white, Hispanic, male equipment operator (decedent #2) were both electrocuted when the irrigation pipe they were lifting made contact with an overhead electrical line. There were no witnesses to the incident. The victims were found lying on the ground by the employer. The employer stated that a piece of irrigation pipe was laying on top of one of the decedent's chest. The decedents were not installing irrigation pipes at the time of the incident, but had been instructed by their supervisor to clean weeds next to a concrete slab. It is not known why they elevated the pipe. Co-workers and the supervisor believed the employees were attempting to remove a rabbit or some other small animal from the pipe when contact was made with the overhead power line. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that, in order to prevent similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. use plastic irrigation pipes whenever possible; 2. conduct jobsite surveys to identify potential hazards prior to beginning work on a project and during the project; 3. establish a standard operating procedure (SOP) that pipes not be elevated near overhead electrical lines; 4. place electrical lines out of reach of workers either by increasing the minimum height of the lines or by burying them; 5. decrease the length of hand-carried irrigation pipes; and 6. consider adopting alternative methods of irrigation.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Occupational-hazards; Equipment-operators; Electric-properties; Electrical-conductivity; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electrical-systems; Electricity; Electrocutions
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-94CA001; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division