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Business manager electrocuted while removing flagpole located near 7,200 volt overhead power line.

Minnesota Department of Health
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 95MN033, 1995 Aug; :1-5
A 28-year-old male business manager (victim) was electrocuted when he attempted to remove a metal flagpole from in front of his business. Removal of the flagpole was not a usual job task performed by the victim or by any of the other employees. It was a one time task for which there were no specific employee safety training needs or requirements. The flagpole was inserted inside a vertical support pipe that was secured inside a rock-filled landscape box. A 7,200 volt power line was located directly above the landscape box and flagpole. The victim stood on a wood plank adjacent to the flagpole while a coworker remained on the ground. The victim lifted the flagpole vertically to raise it out of the support pipe. As he raised the pole, the top of it neared the power line and an electrical arc occurred between the power line and the pole. A path to ground was completed through the victim as a result of his contact with the flagpole and he was electrocuted. It wasn't known whether the pole came in direct contact with the overhead power line. The victim released the pole and fell from the wood plank to the ground. The coworker immediately ran inside and called emergency medical services. Two employees of an adjacent business immediately came to the scene and began to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene within a few minutes. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead approximately one hour after the incident occurred. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. contact the local electrical utility company to assist or provide guidance whenever work is performed in the vicinity of overhead power lines; and 2. ensure employees follow safe work practices whenever working near overhead power lines or with materials which may contact overhead power lines.
Region-5; 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; Protective-measures; Management-personnel; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-properties; Electrical-safety; 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-95MN033; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division