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24-year-old farm laborer dies when the aluminum irrigation pipe he is handling contacts a high voltage line.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
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 96CO029, 1996 Dec; :1-3
On June 15, 1996 at approximately 8:30 in the morning, two farm hands were installing a siderow sprinkler system. The system consists of 30-foot long sections of gated aluminum pipe that are connected to the pumping system. While relocating a section of pipe, the two workers lifted it to a vertical position to clear the pipe of accumulated sediment. The pipe contacted a 7200-volt power line that ran along the edge of the field. The power line was 27 feet above ground level at the location where the pipe contacted the line. Both workers experienced an electrical shock. One of the workers failed to recover and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital. The second worker was hospitalized overnight for observation and released the next day. The circumstances of this fatality are very similar to others that have occurred in Colorado in the past eight years. In response to these fatalities, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) prepared a Hazard Alert summarizing some of these incidents and recommendations for prevention. Warning labels were also printed for statewide distribution. The recommendations from the Hazard Alert are listed below. A copy of the entire Alert is attached to this report. Recommendations: 1. Place a label on all sections of aluminum pipe that warns of the potential electrocution hazard. 2. Inspect and clean all pipes for installation in an area free of over-head power lines. 3. Flag a 30-foot area on either side of the power line during the installation process to alert workers they are in a danger zone and that pipes should not be raised to a vertical position within this area. 4. Select plastic pipes when an irrigation system is purchased or replaced. 5. Install power lines to pumps underground when new service is requested or existing service is relocated. 6. The employer should conduct a work-site survey on a regular basis to assess the potential safety hazards. Once an assessment has been completed, written safety rules and procedures should be developed, implemented, and enforced. Training should then be provided to employees that specifically addresses all identified hazards.
Region-8; 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; Safety-programs; Electric-properties; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electrocutions; Training; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Warning-signs
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-96CO029; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-808518
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division