On October 27, 2006, a 53-year-old male truck driver was electrocuted when the raised long-bed dump trailer of the truck he was driving contacted an energized 4,800-volt overhead line. The decedent had delivered several loads of sugar beets to a local processing facility. Prior to re-entering the wet beet field for another load, he wanted to dump the tare weight (dirt, sugar beet parts) from the dump trailer bed. According to known past work practices on the farm, while inside the tractor cab, he activated the dump trailer to rise. The event was unwitnessed. A probable incident scenario was developed during the interview of the decedent's employer, who was the farm owner. The farm owner suggested that the decedent would have wanted to ensure that the tare weight was leaving the dump trailer. While the trailer was rising, he exited the truck cab and walked along the side the truck trailer body to take a look at the exiting tare. Sometime during this activity, the top of the trailer bed contacted the overhead line. It is unknown if the decedent was aware of the contact. A second truck driver whose truck was being loaded with sugar beets nearby in the same field noticed a flash of light and saw the truck on fire. The farm owner, who was also the employer of the decedent, was operating the beet harvester and loading this truck. The truck driver and his passenger, a paramedic, immediately ran to the decedent and began CPR. Emergency response arrived and transported the decedent to a local hospital where he was declared dead. Recommendations: 1. Farm employers should conduct a field survey prior to fieldwork to determine any hazards at work locations, (such as overhead power lines), determine the work tasks to be performed, and identify safe areas to perform the work away from the hazard. 2. Employers should talk with the electrical power company to gather safety information to develop and implement safe work procedures if the lines cannot be de-energized and thus necessary to perform fieldwork near the energized overhead electrical lines. 3. Farm owners and truck owner/operators should consider installing high voltage proximity alarms on truck trailer dump beds in case of inadvertent operation of machinery near overhead power lines and train employees in electrical principles and proximity alarm use and limitations. 4. Employers, truck owner/operators, and truck leasing companies should measure the raised dump trailer height of each of their trucks and post this height prominently in the cab compartment. 5. Employers should establish emergency procedures for fellow workers to follow in case of an electrocution and train the workers in these procedures.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Safety-monitoring; Training; Work-areas; Work-operations; Work-performance; Equipment-operators; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Truck-drivers; Trucking; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electrocutions