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The foreman for an electrical construction and maintenance company in Texas was electrocuted after grabbing energized bayonet fuse in a live front transformer.

Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
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 99TX202, 1999 Oct; :1-6
On March 30, 1999, a 44 year-old male foreman (the victim) was electrocuted after he grabbed an energized bayonet fuse on a transformer. The victim and co-workers, under contract with the local utility company, were in the process of changing 12 transformers from submersible to pad mounted dead front transformers at an apartment complex. On the day of the incident the workers were re-energizing the loop after three units had been changed. The three changed units were Nos. 7, 8, and 9 with No. 9 being the last unit to be changed. Units 8 and 10 were used to isolate No. 9 by totally removing the cockable bayonet fuses located on the primary cable sides of each unit. No. 10 had not been changed and was a live front transformer. The fuses energized the primary cable between the transformers. They were returning the units to normal operations by reinstalling the bayonets in Nos. 8 and 10. Unit 8 had been completed and the lineman was working on No. 10. The victim had supervised the change on two transformers and noticed the lineman was having trouble "cocking" the bayonet fuse in No. 10. The lineman was using an 8 foot insulated fiberglass switching stick, or shotgun stick, to install the bayonet fuse. He had hooked the bottom of the bayonet into the lower switch and was trying to cock it or slide down the sleeve in the middle of the tube to reveal the upper metal contact collar to insert into the upper switch. The victim told the lineman to remove the shotgun stick and after removal of the hot stick, the victim placed his left hand on the top edge of the left door of the energized transformer, reached down and grabbed the fuse with his bare hands. This completed the circuit to ground. The flash ignited his clothes and he was electrocuted by 7,200 volts. Co-workers administered CPR until EMS arrived within 5 minutes after the incident. The victim was transported to a hospital and was pronounced dead within a half hour after the incident. The Texas FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Use "live work" visual indicators. 2. Utilizing detailed diagrams and schematics, train field personnel about the systems and processes involved. 3. Develop and implement a checklist on standard operating procedures to be used as process steps are completed. 4. Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees in the presence of potentially hazardous conditions. 5. Evaluate the effectiveness of safety training programs by conducting regular inspections and observing work procedures.
Region-6; 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; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Electric-properties; Electrical-conductivity; Electrical-fields; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-industry; Electrical-properties; Electrical-safety; Electrical-transmission; Electrical-workers; Electricity; 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-99TX202; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613936
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division