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Preventing worker deaths and injuries from contacting overhead power lines with metal ladders.

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, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-155, 2007 Sep; :1-4
Workers risk electrocution when using metal ladders around energized, overhead power lines. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed recommendations to prevent injuries and deaths while working with metal ladders. A NIOSH review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data from 1992-2005 identified at least 154 electrocution deaths that resulted from contacting overhead power lines with portable metal ladders (excluding truck-mounted and aerial ladders) [NIOSH 2007a]. Of these 154 deaths, 36 involved a person of Hispanic origin (CFOI data for all years exclude New York City; the data for 2005 are preliminary). Although Hispanic workers accounted for 23%) of these electrocution deaths due to ladders contacting power lines, it is estimated that they made up only 11 % of the workforce dur­ing this period [NIOSH 2007b]. The NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program is designed to identify, study, and prevent fatal occupational injuries [<a href=""target="_blank"></a>]. A review of NIOSH FACE cases between 1987 and 2007 identified 11 investigations involving the deaths of 12 workers that occurred while working around overhead power lines and using metal ladders. Ladder contacts with power lines usually occurred during erection, lowering, or relocation of the ladder. The surveillance data indicate a disproportionate rate of deaths among Hispanic workers involved in incidents related to metal ladders making contact with over­head power lines. Recent investigations of Hispanic worker deaths have also highlighted the need for worksite surveys and hazard controls and identified additional safety measures for workers whose primary language is not English.
Extension-ladders; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Electrocutions; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Accident-analysis; Accident-rates; Traumatic-injuries; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Surveillance-programs; Construction-Search
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Workplace Solutions
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-155
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division