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 2005-01, 2005 Jul; :1-9
On October 12, 2004, a 26-year-old Hispanic laborer (the victim) was electrocuted at a materials storage yard, as he guided an auger being lifted by a truck-mounted crane onto a truck. A 7,200 volt overhead power line ran through the middle of the 5-acre materials storage yard. The victim was holding on to the auger when the truck boom moved, apparently causing the crane boom or load line to contact the power line, and the electricity to flow through the victim's body. Two workers employed by another subcontractor that were assisting the victim were also shocked and knocked to the ground by the electric current. They were not permanently injured. The crane operator saw that the three employees had fallen to the ground. He came down from the crane operating position and ran to check on the men and look at the crane boom, the load line, and the power lines. [Since the crane operator was not shocked, it is assumed that he moved the boom away from the power lines before exiting the crane cab.] He then ran back to the operating position, lowered the auger to the ground, and then returned to the men. Finding that the victim had no apparent pulse and did not appear to be breathing, the crane operator began cardiopulmonary (CPR) resuscitation efforts. One of the workers who had been shocked ran to a nearby building to call 911, while the other waited for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS personnel responded within approximately 20 minutes and continued CPR on the victim. The victim remained unresponsive and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead by an emergency room physician. The two injured workers were transported to another hospital in the area and examined. One of them was released that day, and the other was admitted to the hospital and released two days later. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. assign a competent persona to conduct a jobsite survey during the planning phases of any construction project to identify potential hazards, and to develop and implement appropriate control measures for these hazards; 2. train all crane operators and crews who may work near overhead power lines to maintain minimum clearance from overhead power lines at all times; and, 3. develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive safety program, and provide safety training in language(s) and literacy level(s) of workers, which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions. Additionally, 1. municipalities should consider requiring in their bid specifications that all contract proposals include a written comprehensive safety program that addresses safe operating procedures and documents worker training for all tasks to be performed under the contract; and, 2. The authority having jurisdiction for providing emergency medical services should identify and address barriers to timely response to medical emergencies.