Fatal Facts Accident Report No. 11

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) , OSHA Office of Construction & Engineering

Summary Statement

Describes a fatal electrocution and discusses ways that it could have been prevented.
WInter 2000

Accident type Electrocution
Weather Fair and Cold with Wet Ground
Type of Operation Remodeling
Crew Size 2
Collective Bargaining? No
Competent Safety Monitor on Site? Yes
Safety and Health Program in Effect? No
Was the Work Site Inspected Regularly? Yes
Training and Education Provided? No
Employee Job Title Carpenter
Age/Sex 33/M
Experience at This Type Work 30 days
Time on Project 3 days

Brief Description of Accident

Two employees were installing aluminum siding on a farm house when it became necessary to remove a 36- foot- high metal pole CB antenna. One employee stood on a metal pick board between two ladders and unfastened the antenna at the top of the house. The other employee, who was standing on the ground, took the antenna to lay it down in the yard. The antenna made electrical contact with a 7,200-volt power transmission line 30 feet 10 inches from the house and 23 feet 9 inches above the ground. The employee handling the antenna received a fatal shock, and the other employee a minor shock.

Inspection Results

Following its investigation, OSHA issued one citation for two alleged serious violations of its construction standards. Had these standards been adhered to, the fatality might have been prevented.

Accident Prevention Recommendations

The employer must:
1. Note the presence of power lines and be extremely cautious when working near them. Train employees to recognize hazards [Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1926.21(b)(2)].

2. Do not permit employees to work near any part of an electrical power circuit that might be contacted in the course of the work. Guard all electrical power circuits against accidental contact by insulating the circuit or de-energizing it or by other effective means that would protect the employees (CFR 1926.400(c)(1).

Sources of Help

  • OSHA General Industry Standards [29 CFR Parts 1900-1910] and OSHA Construction Standards [CFR Part 1926] together include all OSHA job safety and health rules and regulations covering construction.
  • OSHA-funded free onsite consultation services. Consult your telephone directory for the number of you local OSHA area or regional office for further assistance and advice listed under the U.S. Labor Department or under the state government section where states administer their own OSHA-approved safety and health programs.
  • A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry (OSHA 3150), Controlling Electrical Hazards (OSHA 3075), Ground-Fault Protection on Construction Sites (OSHA 3007), and other publications, technical information, standards, and assistance are available online at www.osha.gov.
  • Courses in construction safety are offered by the OSHA Training Institute, 1555 Times Drive, Des Plains, IL 60018, (847) 297-4810 and are listed on OSHA's website.
Note: The case described here is representative of fatalities caused by improper work practices. No special emphasis or priority is implied nor is the case necessarily a recent occurrence. The legal aspects of the incident have been resolved and the case closed. US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC.