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DATE: May 25, 1999

INCIDENT TYPE: Electrocution

LOCATION: District 12

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Removal of Traffic-Signal Pole

THE ACCIDENT: On April 15, 1999, a contract electrical crew was removing a traffic-signal pole on the North/East corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cleo in Laguna Beach. As the boom truck operator raised the boom, contact was made with high-voltage lines. Another employee was assisting the operation from the ground. He was holding the pole, and as contact with the power lines was made, he was electrocuted. He passed out with no breathing or pulse. He was quickly revived by a citizen who was there.

CONCLUSIONS: This employee was very lucky. He was released from the hospital the next day, and was cleared to return to work. Had it not been for a person trained in CPR, this could have been a fatal accident. There were obvious Title 8 violations. Cal-OSHA is investigating this accident.

RECOMMENDATIONS: When working in the proximity of high voltage lines, a spotter should be utilized to prevent any part of the equipment or it’s load from coming within the "safety zone". The Maintenance Manual, Chapter 8, Section 8.39 (Working Near Utilities) details the procedures to follow when working near high voltage power lines. All Codes of Safe Practices for the particular activity and equipment used should also be reviewed prior to starting the procedure.

Don’t allow yourself to get tunnel vision. Take a look and "see the big picture". Remember to "Look up and Live"


Released 5/26/99

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