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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201096757 - Employee Receives Electric Shock By Fallen Electric Line

Accident: 201096757 -- Report ID: 0950645 -- Event Date: 08/23/2003
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30081478709/04/20039224Santa Barbara County Fire Department
At approximately 1:55 p.m. on August 23, 2003, an employee, an Acting Fire Captain, was assigned to Engine Number 31 with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department SBCFD. En route to a wildland fire they were informed that high voltage lines were down in the area of the fire. The three workers arrived at site, met with the Lompoc City Fire Department (LCFD) Captain and were asked to proceed to the left flank, west, of the fire to begin suppression activities. The SBCFD worker did not ascertain the number of downed lines or the number of power lines which normally would be strung along the poles. All three high voltage lines were down in the area where the LCFD Captain was located. The personnel of Engine 31 traveled less than 0.25 mile along an unpaved loose sand road to where they encountered a fence. The fence was cut to allow Engine 31 through. A decision was made to leave the road and cut diagonally across the black, an area already burned by the fire, considered relatively safe because it was felt the Engine could not easily negotiate the approximately 90 degree turn in unpaved road beyond the fence. At some point before entering the black, Witnesses # 1and #2 observed two high voltage lines strung above the work area along the poles. No one observed the third high voltage line lying on the ground across the black. The employee and Witness #1 entered the black and began moving logs to allow Engine 31 to pass. Witness #2 stayed back to operate the truck. The employee began moving a large log. As Witness #1 approached to help the employee with the log both began to be shocked. The employee had stepped on the 7400 volt high voltage line then fell backwards onto the line and continued to be shocked. Witness #1 made several attempts to grab the employee's clothing but was prevented each time by the current. Witness #1 ran back to the truck to get a non-conductive tool. Witness #1 one got wood handled shovel from a Forest Service employee and on the second attempt was able to hook the shovel under the employee's arm and pull him off the high voltage line. The employee had laid on the high voltage line approximately 30 seconds. The employee received treatment at the site by a SBCFD paramedic before being flown from the scene to Marian Medical Center,(Santa Maria, Ca. The employee subsequently was transferred to the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, Ca. The employee suffered third degree burns to his back, left elbow, rear calves and right hand. Witness #1 was taken to Lompoc Hospital (Lompoc, Ca. and found not to have been injured during the incident.
Keywords: burn, firefighter, overhead power line, electric shock
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300814787 Hospitalized injury Electric Shock Firefighting occupations

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