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Electrician falls to his death from an old wooden transformer platform.

Iowa Department of Public 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 98IA053, 1999 Jan; :1-3
A 47-year-old male city electrical supervisor died from injuries suffered on July 20, 1998 when he fell 25 feet from a wooden utility platform. He was removing transformers from the platform when a plank gave way under him. The platform was built to hold electrical transformers, not electrical workers. It had two cross beams between two poles and planks bolted onto the cross beams. The planks were not adequately supported to hold the weight of a person standing close to the edges, and there were no guardrails. The platform was deteriorated from the weather, and may have also been damaged in a fire that occurred two days before. The platform was fairly wide which made it difficult to gain access to the transformers from an aerial lift bucket. The electrical supervisor and an assistant arrived at the job site at 7:30 am with a bucket and digger truck. The assistant moved the truck near the transformer platform, and the supervisor went up in the bucket to the platform level. He stepped onto the platform and removed the secondary and ground leads so the three transformers could be removed from the platform. He hooked a sling on the middle transformer and climbed back in the bucket. After lowering and removing the transformer, he went back into the bucket and up to the platform level to remove another transformer. He stepped on the platform again and walked across to remove the end transformer. Suddenly, a plank came loose under him and he fell 25 feet to an alley. The assistant immediately radioed for help. When the crews arrived the electrical supervisor was pronounced dead at the scene from severe head and neck injuries. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Employees of electrical workers should establish a training program which includes job specific hazard recognition, fall protection, and safe aerial lift use procedures. 2. Employers should provide fall protection devices when needed and ensure that they are maintained and used properly. 3. Owners and operators of electrical utility installations should ensure that the installations are maintained in a safe condition.
Region-7; 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; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Training; Electrical-equipment; Electrical-industry; Electrical-safety; Electrical-workers; Supervisory-personnel
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-98IA053; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division