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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14466049 - Fall - Rotted Utility Pole Failed

Accident: 14466049 -- Report ID: 0636900 -- Event Date: 09/21/1988
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10143206009/23/19884911Texas New Mexico Power Company
A utility pole was being retired after about 60 years in service. The company had tested the integrity of the pole by sounding it, that is, the pole was struck above ground with a hammer, and the resulting sounds were evaluated. The pole was determined to be solid with this method despite the fact that the company's safety manual required digging 254 millimeters below ground level and sounding, with further checks based on the quality of the initial testing. This rule had been routinely violated for several years. Two power line workers climbed this pole to release the overhead power lines it supported. The pole, which was guyed on the side opposite to where the lines were attached, was rotten just below ground level. When the employees released the tension on the pole from the power lines, the pole shifted and broke where it had rotted. Both employees fell to the ground. One of them died of his injuries. The other employee sustained injuries for which he was hospitalized.
Keywords: dismantling, power line worker, work rules, equipment failure, elec utility work, fall, utility pole
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 101432060 Fatality Bruise/Contus/Abras Electrical power installers and repairers
2 101432060 Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Electrical power installers and repairers

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