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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 65529.015 - Employee Falls On Power Line And Is Electrocuted

Accident: 65529.015 -- Report ID: 0316400 -- Event Date: 07/31/2014
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
987622.01507/31/2014Asplundh Tree Expert Company

At 3:30 p.m. on July 31, 2014, an employee was working for a firm that specializ ed in tree pruning and vegetation management for utilities and government agenci es. He was part of a crew that consisted of a crew foreman, the employee, and tw o other coworkers. They were at a site to fell an oak tree. The 0.5-meter-diame ter (20-inch-diameter) oak tree was on a residential property that was enclosed by a chainlink fence on all sides. The employee had climbed the tree and cut of f its limbs in preparation for felling the tree. The employee left in place an 11.7-meter-tall (38 foot, 7 inch-tall) portion of tree trunk. He attached a pul l rope to this stub and climbed down from the tree. He then went to rest on a ch unk of the tree that was positioned against the chainlink fence. The employee a nd his coworkers grabbed the pull rope, and the crew foreman used a chainsaw to fell the tree. The crew foreman was attempting to fell the tree in an approxima te 7.6-meter-wide (25-foot-wide) opening between a camper and overhead utility l ines. The lines consisted of cable television, telephone, electric power distrib ution, and service drop conductors. When the crew foreman made the backcut, the tree began to fall in the intended direction. As the employee and his two cowo rkers were pulling the pull rope, the tree suddenly kicked left and fell to the ground. As the tree stub fell to the ground, the top of the stub glanced off a the telephone and cable television wires. When the tree stub glanced off the wi res, the overhead electric power lines bounced. This bounce in the conductors ca used the top of a utility pole to break at approximately 3:30 pm. The utility w ires, including an overhead distribution line energized at 7,200 volts, fell and came to rest approximately 150 millimeters (6 inches) above the top rail of the chainlink fence. The power line arced, and the chain link fence became energiz ed. The tree chunk the employee was sitting on, which was positioned against th e chain link fence, was approximately 37 meters (120 feet) from where the electr ical conductor arced. The employee yelled to the coworkers to call for emergen cy medical services. He then collapsed and became unresponsive. The coworkers called emergency medical services and began providing CPR to the employee. The fire department, EMTs, and state police responded to the scene. The employee w as unresponsive when loaded into the ambulance. He was pronounced dead after ar riving at the hospital.

Keywords: clearance, e gi iii, elec utility work, electric shock, electrical, electrocuted, falling object, overhead power line, power lines, struck against, tree felling, tree trimming, utility pole

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature
1 987622.015 41 M Fatality

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