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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201163771 - Employee Electrocuted By Contact With Energized Transformer

Accident: 201163771 -- Report ID: 0950641 -- Event Date: 07/09/2002
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12615778307/09/20021794Padilla'S Company Inc
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on July 9, 2002, Employee #1 was operating a crawler type backhoe excavator at a demolition/excavation site in Los Angeles, CA. He had been contracted to excavate an entire block, which used to house a bank and a restaurant. The excavation was flat at its western end and approached 12 ft deep toward its eastern end. About 17 ft from the perimeter fence at its eastern end was an electrical transformer mounted on a 6 ft by 8 ft cement pad with an approximately 3 ft deep crawl space underneath it. According to job foreman, his crew had been digging out empty electrical conduits that ran toward the transformer. They wanted to determine if there were more conduits to be excavated, so he and Employee #1 decided to take a closer look from under the cement pad. The transformer, according to the foreman, was not locked out. Employee #1 opened the transformer, which had a double leaf door. The right door opened the low-voltage load side (Secondary Terminals); users are connected to this side. No wire was observed connected to any of the terminals. Employee #1 then opened the left door, which contained the Primary Terminals, where power comes into the transformer from outside sources. According to the foreman, Employee #1 told him this had no power. Employee #1 was kneeling in front of the transformer and the foreman was standing behind him while they both looked into the underground pad. With his right hand, Employee #1 moved the right-most wire connected to one of the primary terminals; the foreman saw his hand turn white and start to shake. The foreman took a piece of wood and struck the wire to break the contact with Employee #1. This was followed by a loud explosion from the transformer. Employee #1 suffered serious burns and was transported by paramedics to the hospital. He was put on life support and died the following day when it was removed. According to the foreman, all the workers, including Employee #1, told him the transformer was de-energized. The Primary side had white-colored feed wires connected to the terminals. The Los Angeles Department of Public Works reported that these carried 2770/4800 volts, and the Secondary had 120/240 volts. The employer relied on the verbal report that the transformer was de-energized, but no written report was made available and the employer did not make prior determination to confirm transformer status. The employees had neither the training nor the testers for cursory evaluation of electrical hazards in demolition/excavation work.
Keywords: burn, excavation, work rules, electrocuted, struck against, construction, test equipment, elec circ part--misc, electrical fault, transformer
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Excavation, landfill New project or new addition $50,000 to $250,000 X
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 126157783 Fatality Electric Shock Excavating and loading machine operators FallDist:
Cause: Excavation
FatCause: Electrocution by touching exposed wire/source

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