Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Industry
Many of the specific hazards associated with this industry are similar to those found in other large industries. In addition, workers in other industries have experienced electrocution injuries and fatalities from distribution lines, most notably in the telephone and cable industries (see Other Hazards). The most important hazards associated with the electric power industry are:
- Confined Spaces
- Fires and Explosions
- Sprains, Strains, and Fractures
- Environmental Stress
Student Safety Manual
- Electrical Safety: Safety and Health for Electrical Trades Student Manual. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-113, (March 2009). As part of a safety and health curriculum for secondary and post-secondary electrical trades courses, this manual is designed to engage the learner in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with electrical work.
- Electrical Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Provides links to in-house and state based fatality investigation reports of incidents in which electrical incidents resulted in worker deaths, NIOSH publications, and other related web sites.
- Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Studies fatal occupational injuries to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then formulating and disseminating prevention strategies to those who may intervene in the workplace. It provides users with access to the full text of hundreds of fatality investigation reports, indexes reports by program, industry and cause of fatality.
- Journeyman Wireman Electrocuted After Contacting Energized Switchgear Components at Power Plant-West Virginia. FACE Report 94-10. A 53-year-old journeyman wireman was electrocuted when he contacted two energized 6.9 kV bus terminals at a power plant.
- Power Substation Worker Falls 12 Feet to His Death After Contacting a 26,000 Volt Power Line. FACE Report 91-NJ-003-01, (July 23, 1991). A 53-year-old electrical substation mechanic suffered a fatal fall after making contact with an energized 26,000-volt power line. The incident occurred when the victim climbed a ladder and attempted to free a jammed switching device. Thinking that the lines were de-energized, the worker was shocked after touching a live electrical conductor, causing him to fall 12 feet to the ground.
- Power Company Worker Electrocuted in Underground Utility vault. FACE Report 8816. A 35-year-old cable splicer was electrocuted when he contacted an energized pipe that was connected to a 220-volt sump pump.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publications
- Preventing Worker Deaths from Uncontrolled Release of Electrical, Mechanical, and Other Types of Hazardous Energy. Publication No. 99-110, (1999). Describes five fatal incidents in which workers contacted uncontrolled hazardous energy during installation, maintenance, service, or repair work.
- Preventing Electrocutions of Crane Operators and Crew Members Working Near Overhead Power Lines. Publication No. 95-108, (May 1995). Describes five cases (six electrocutions) that resulted from the hazards of operating cranes near overhead power lines and makes recommendations for preventing similar incidents.
- Preventing Falls and Electrocutions During Tree Trimming. Publication No. 92-106, (August 1992). Describes eight incidents involving five electrocutions and three fatal falls of tree trimmers. One recommendation made is to notify the utility company when an aerial bucket truck or other boomed vehicle must operate near a power line or when work must be performed within minimum working distances specified by OSHA (see Table 1). The utility company and the employer should then discuss the options for protecting workers: de-energizing and grounding the power lines or covering them with insulating hoses or blankets.
- Preventing Fatalities of Workers Who Contact Electrical Energy. Publication No. 87-103, (December 1986). Prompt emergency medical care can be lifesaving for workers who have contacted either low voltage or high voltage electric energy. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) within approximately 4 minutes followed by advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) within approximately 8 minutes has been shown to save lives.
- Worker Deaths by Electrocution: A Summary of Surveillance Findings and Investigative Case Reports. Publication No. 98-131, (May 1998). Provides an overview of electrical hazards, including the effects of electrical energy on the human body; a comprehensive summary of the epidemiology of occupational electrocutions based on National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) and Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) data which identifies common risk factors for fatal injury due to contact with electrical energy; and recommendations for elements of an effective electrical safety program for the prevention of workplace electrocutions. Part II includes a summary abstract for all 224 FACE electrocution investigative reports prepared by NIOSH for further information and reference.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
- Worker Deaths by Falls. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-116, (September 2000). Reports that falls from elevations were the fourth leading cause of occupational fatalities from 1980 through 1994. The 8,102 deaths due to falls from elevations accounted for 10% of all fatalities and an average of 540 deaths per year. Between 1982 and 1997, NIOSH investigated 90 falls incidents that resulted in 91 fatalities.
- A Plant Operator at a Coal Fired Power Generation Plant in Texas, Died When He Fell Between the Bypass Dampers Located in the Flu Gas Disulfurization Unit. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Report 98TX23501, (December 28, 1998). A 32-year-old plant operator died while performing regularly scheduled maintenance on bypass dampers in the flu gas disulfurization unit at a power generation plant.
- Electrician Falls to His Death From an Old Wooden Transformer Platform. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Iowa Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Report 981A053. A 47-year-old city electrical supervisor died from injuries suffered when he fell 25 feet from a wooden utility platform. The transformer platform was not well designed for safe maintenance work. It was too wide to enable accessing the transformers from a bucket, yet it was not built for safe access while standing on the platform.
- Lineman Dies from Fall from Utility Pole. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Report 88-39. The belt and safety strap worn by the victim would have been adequate to prevent a fall if used, but these were not utilized due to the difficulty in passing the television cable. A second strap, to provide protection until the climber had the primary strap in place above the lower cable, could have prevented this fall. In this incident the victim was only wearing leather (non-insulated) gloves when he contacted the energized line. If insulated gloves and sleeves had been worn, the victim would not have received the electrical shock which contributed to the fatal fall.
- 33 Year-Old Apprentice Substation Electrician Fatally Injured. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Report 8610. A 33-year-old electrician came into contact with electrical energy while cleaning a substation switch. He died from injuries sustained as a result of falling from the aerial bucket from which he was working. The victim did not have himself belted to the aerial bucket as required. This would have prevented his fall and the injuries sustained in the fall.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Fall Protection Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Worker Deaths in Confined Spaces: A Summary of NIOSH Surveillance and Investigative Findings. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-103, (January 1994). From December 1983 through September 1993, the deaths of 480 workers in 423 incidents were investigated. Seventy of these investigations involved confined spaces where 109 persons died. In 25 of the confined-space incidents, there were multiple fatalities, including those deaths which involved persons attempting rescue.
- Preventing Occupational Fatalities in Confined Spaces. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-110, (January 1986). The deaths of workers in confined spaces constitute a recurring occupational tragedy; approximately 60% of these fatalities have involved would-be rescuers. NIOSH investigations indicate that workers usually do not recognize that they are working in a confined space and that they may encounter unforeseen hazards. Testing and evaluation of the atmosphere are typically not initiated prior to entry and monitoring is not performed during the confined space work procedures. Rescue is seldom planned and usually consists of spontaneous reaction in an emergency situation.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Confined Spaces Safety and Health Topics Page.
Fires and Explosions
- Potential for Natural Gas and Coal Dust Explosions in Electric Power Generation Facilities. OSHA Technical Information Bulletin (TIB), (November 6, 2000). Provides a reminder for employers who operate electrical power generation facilities of potential explosion hazards during boiler startup, operation, and shutdown.
- Ford Settlement. Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) News, (Fall 1999). Describes the settlement in the Dearborn, Michigan powerhouse boiler explosion and secondary explosion from coal dust accumulations.
- Potential for Feed Water Pipes in Electrical Power Generation Facilities to Rupture Causing Hazardous Release of Steam and Hot Water. OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB), (October 31, 1996). Describes how feed water pipe failures were attributed to wall thinning as a result of single-phase erosion/corrosion, leading to rupture of the pipes under high working pressures.
- For additional information on fire and explosion hazards, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics pages on:
Sprains, Strains, and Fractures
- Certification of Workplace Products by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (February 16, 2010).
- Electric Power Annual. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Contains statistical data on the U.S. Electric Power industry.
- Inventory of Electric Utility Power Plants in the United States 2000. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), (March 2002). Provides detailed statistics on existing generating units operated by electric utilities as of December 31, 2000, and certain summary statistics about new generators planned for operation by electric utilities during the next 5 years. [This is the final issue of this report].
The electric power industry is a large, diverse, and fully integrated combination of several sub-industries. The major sub-industries and their SIC and NAICS codes are:
|2002 NAICS||1987 SIC||Corresponding Index Entries|
|2211||4911||Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution|
|22111||4911||Electric Power Generation|
|221111||4911||Hydroelectric Power Generation|
|4911||Electric services-hydroelectric power generation|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-hydroelectric power generation|
|4939||Combination utilities-hydroelectric power generation|
|221112||4911||Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation|
|4911||Electric services-electric power generation by fossil fuels|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-electric power generation by fossil fuels|
|4939||Combination utilities-electric power generation by fossil fuels|
|221113||4911||Nuclear Electric Power Generation|
|4911||Electric services-electric power generation by nuclear fuels|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-electric power generation by nuclear fuels|
|221119||4911||Other Electric Power Generation|
|4911||Electric services-other electric power generation|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-other power generation|
|4939||Combination utilities-other power generation|
|22112||4911||Electric Power Transmission, Control, and Distribution|
|221121||4911||Electric Bulk Power Transmission and Control|
|4911||Electric services-electric power transmission and control|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-electric power transmission|
|4939||Combination utilities-electric power transmission|
|221122||4911||Electric Power Distribution|
|4911||Electric services-electric power distribution|
|4931||Electric & other services combined-electric power distribution|
|4939||Combination utilities-electric power distribution|