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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 specialized in tree pruning and vegetation management for utilities and government agencies. He was part of a crew that consisted of a crew foreman, the employee, and two other coworkers. They were at a site to fell an oak tree. The 0.5-meter-diameter (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 off 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 pull rope to this stub and climbed down from the tree. He then went to rest on a chunk of the tree that was positioned against the chainlink fence. The employee and 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 approximate 7.6-meter-wide (25-foot-wide) opening between a camper and overhead utility lines. The lines consisted of cable television, telephone, electric power distribution, 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 coworkers 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 wires, the overhead electric power lines bounced. This bounce in the conductors caused the top of a utility pole to break at approximately 3:30 pm. The utility wires, 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 energized. The tree chunk the employee was sitting on, which was positioned against the chain link fence, was approximately 37 meters (120 feet) from where the electrical conductor arced. The employee yelled to the coworkers to call for emergency 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 was unresponsive when loaded into the ambulance. He was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital.
Keywords: tree trimming, e gi iii, overhead power line, power lines, electrocuted, electric shock, elec utility work, falling object, struck against, utility pole, clearance, electrical, tree felling
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature
1 987622.015 41 M Fatality Electric Shock

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