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Massachusetts carpentry foreman dies when metal ladder contacts overhead public utility powerline.

Massachusetts 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 93MA003, 1994 Feb; :1-5
A 29 year old male carpentry foreman (the victim) was electrocuted when the metal ladder he was moving contacted an overhead powerline. Prior to the incident, the victim and two co-workers had been preparing the facade of a three story multi-family dwelling for a fresh coat of paint. As the crew of three were completing their day's work, the victim and a co-worker were moving a 40 foot aluminum extension ladder which had been positioned against the front of the residence. As the duo moved the ladder to a vertical position, it contacted the overhead powerline located about 24 feet above ground level and directly over their position. Electrical current passed through the ladder and victim to the ground, electrocuting the victim and shocking the co-worker. The Massachusetts FACE Program Investigator concluded that to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Eliminate the use of conductive ladders in proximity to energized electrical conductors; 2. Make arrangements with local utility companies to de-energize or cover powerlines with insulating line hoses or blankets when work is to be performed in proximity to overhead powerlines; 3. Develop and implement a comprehensive safety program that includes training worker to identify and avoid jobsite electrical hazards; 4. Conduct routine jobsite surveys to identify electrical hazards and implement appropriate control measures. Additionally, ladder manufacturers and government agencies should: 5. Explore the feasibility of manufacturing aluminum ladders with non-conductive links or extensions.
Region-1; 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; Safety-programs; Ladders; Electrical-conductivity; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-insulation; Electrical-properties; Electrical-safety; Electrical-shock; Electrical-transmission; Electrocutions; Supervisory-personnel; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-workers
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-93MA003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division