Too often, a worker or person at home will have an accident because they didn't understand why there was danger. For your benefit and for others, acquaint yourself with electricity, power sources, and safety procedures around electrical equipment. At the work site, find out more about safety and electricity. Remember - some power tools only require two-prong plugs as they are "double insulated." At work and at home, explain the dangers and know the right procedures that reduce risks of an incident or injury.
It's a fact - electricity kills. Burns, shock, and electrocution are common hazards that everyone needs to watch out for. Basic safety practices can help you avoid a minor injury or a major catastrophe.
Many tools used in everyday construction work are potentially hazardous. By using your tools correctly and following proper maintenance procedures, you can greatly reduce the risk of electrocution.
As well, watching out for power lines and other power sources is an important part of safety at any work site.
Using a frayed cord is a classic example of a poor safety practice. Don't overlook the obvious - keep your cords and tools well maintained.
Proper procedures must be used. Consult other experienced workers, supervisors, or a safety professional about the proper use and care of hand tools, power tools and power sources.
When using or working near a power source be sure you know which safety procedures you should follow. If in doubt, get help. Follow these general guidelines:
You're good at your job and your pride yourself in your knowledge and safety practices. Yet, there is always more to know about tools and worksite practices that will reduce risks. Study the legislation and manufacturer's specifications for new and old tools. Learn the proper steps when working with power sources and other work site materials. Your best safety bet is to know the safest procedure.
Twice as many accidents involving electricity occur at home than at work. That's why your knowledge of electrical safety is so important. Share your knowledge and teach your family the "dos and don'ts" involving electricity.
Take an inventory of all your home electrical equipment. Check for:
If you find something wrong, replace or fix it. Consult a technician if you're not sure. Teach your children some safety basics. Explain that their safety is important to you.
For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.
Listed below are a few Electrical Accident stories.
A 20-year old truck driver and his 70-year-old male employer (the company president) were electrocuted when the boom of a truck-mounted crane contacted a 7200 volt conductor of an overhead power line. The incident occurred while the driver was unloading concrete blocks at a residential construction site. The driver had backed the truck up the steeply sloped driveway under a power line at the site and was using the crane to unload a cube of concrete blocks. The company president and a masonry contractor watched as the driver operated the crane by a hand-held remote control unit. The driver was having difficulty unloading the blocks because the truck was parked at such a steep angle. While all three men watched the blocks, the tips of the crane boom contacted a conductor of the overhead power line and completed a path to ground through the truck, the remote control unit, and the driver. The company president attempted to render assistance and apparently contacted the truck, completing a path to ground through his body. He died on the scene. The truck driver was airlifted to a nearby burn center where he later died as a result of electrical burns.
A 29 year old worker was electrocuted when he pushed the crane cable on a 1-yard cement bucket into a 7200 volt power line. The victim was a member of a crew that was constructing the back concrete wall of an underground water-holding tank at a sewage treatment plant. Before work on the tank began, the company safety director made sure that insulated line hoses were placed over sections of the power line near the jobsite and that a safe clearance zone was marked off for arriving cement trucks to use for loading their cement buckets.
After the wall was poured, the driver of the cement truck cleaned the loading chute on his truck with a water hose mounted on the truck. As he began to pull away, the crew supervisor yelled at him - asking if the crew could use his water hose to wash out the cement bucket suspended from the crane. The driver stopped the truck under the power line and the crane operator (not realizing that the truck had been moved) swung the boom to position the bucket behind the truck. The victim grasped the power line. The victim provided a path to ground and was fatally electrocuted.
A 37 year old construction labourer was electrocuted while pulling a wire rope attached to a crane cable toward a load. The choker was to be connected to a steel roof joist that was to be lifted 150 feet across the roof of a one-story school and set in place. The cab of the crane was positioned 11-1/2 feet from a 7200 volt power line. After a previous roof joist had been set in place, the crane operator swung the crane boom and cable back toward the victim - who grabbed the choker in his left hand. With his right hand, he held onto a steel rod that had been driven into the ground nearby. At this point, the momentum of the swinging crane apparently caused the crane cable to contact the power line. The electrical current passed across the victim's chest and through the steel rod to ground, causing his fatal electrocution.
A construction superintendent in Ontario, faces two criminal charges following a worksite fatality which occurred in March 1999. Thomas Coombs, an employee of Hy-Tech Aluminum Ltd., was installing eaves troughs at a townhouse construction site.
He and a co-worker were moving a 12-metre aluminum ladder when it came into contact with the live wire. Coombs was fatally injured while his co-worker was severely burned. John Custodio, the supervisor, has been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm. As a supervisor, he failed to warn workers of the danger of working close to an energized overhead electrical conductor and failed to ensure waste material was removed to a disposal area as often as was necessary to prevent a hazardous condition (at least once a day).
The Ministry of Labour in Ontario has also charged the contractor and subcontractors involved. Roussel Eaves trough (subcontractor), Manville Aluminum (subcontractor) and Harmony Development (general contractor) have each been charged with failing to ensure that Coombs did not bring the ladder closer than three metres to an energized overhead electrical conductor.