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Deaths Due to Contact with Power Lines

Scaffold Too Close To Power Line

Seven employees of a masonry company were erecting a brick wall from a tubular, welded-frame scaffold approximately 24 feet high. The scaffold had been constructed only 21 horizontal inches across from a 7,620-volt power line. A laborer carried a piece of wire reinforcement (10 feet long by 8 inches wide) along the top section of the scaffold and contacted the power line with it. The laborer, who was wearing leather gloves, received an electric shock and dropped the wire reinforcement, which fell across the power line and simultaneously contacted the metal rail of the scaffold, energizing the entire scaffold. A 20-year-old bricklayer standing on the work platform in contact with the main scaffold was electrocuted.

Crane Boom Too Close To Power Line

A 56-year-old construction laborer was removing forms from a concrete wall poured several days earlier. As he removed the forms, he wrapped them with a length of cable called a choker, which was to be attached to a crane. The victim signaled the operator of the crane to extend the boom and lower the hoist cable. Both the operator and the victim failed to notice that the boom had contacted a 2,400-volt overhead power line. When the victim reached down to connect the choker to the hoist cable, he suddenly collapsed. Co-workers provided CPR, but were unable to revive the victim. Only after a rescue squad arrived about 4 minutes later did anyone realize that the crane was in contact with a power line -- all those present had assumed that the victim had suffered a heart attack.

Crane Boom Swung Into Power Line

A 29-year-old worker was electrocuted when he pushed a crane cable into a 7,200-volt power line. The victim was part of a crew that was constructing a concrete wall. Before work began, the company safety director made sure that insulated line hoses were placed over sections of the the power line near the jobsite and that a safety clearance zone was marked off for arriving cement trucks. After the wall was poured, one driver cleaned the loading chute of his cement truck with a water hose mounted on the truck. As he began to pull away, the crew supervisor yelled to him, asking if the crew could use his water hose to wash out their cement bucket suspended from the crane. The driver stopped the truck under the power line, and the victim, not realizing that the truck had moved, swung the boom to position the bucket behind the truck. When he grasped the handle of the bucket to pull it down, the crane cable came into contact with the overhead line. The victim provided a path to ground and was electrocuted.

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