Home > Arc Flash, Industrial > Electrical Accident in Workplace Kills a Worker every 28 Hours

Electrical Accident in Workplace Kills a Worker every 28 Hours

It’s been facebooked, tweeted, youtubed, linked in and wikipediaed. And yet, despite its global name recognition, an electrical accident in the workplace kills a worker every 28 hours. According to an IEEE study involving more than 120,000 workers, arc flash was the culprit in more than 75% of those accidents.

Electrical accidents represent a statistically small percentage of work-related incidents, often occurring even in facilities that have passed formal inspections within recent months, but they’re disproportionately fatal. In a seven-year study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,576 U.S. workers died and another 32,807 sustained lost-time injuries, losing an average of 13 days away from work, because of electrical shock or burn injuries.

The Internet is brimming with safety information about arc flash: 364,000 hits on Google, 11.2 million hits on usa.gov and even 445 chilling videos on YouTube. So, why are U.S. workers still getting killed on an almost-daily basis?

Story via PlantServices.com

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  1. Lawrence e. Bird
    December 7, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I believe that the reason why there are so many people burned and killed in the area of doing line work is because there are not enough people checking on line workers and making sure they are trained properly and are following the rules that are set up to have them go home the same way they came to work.I recently have been terminated as a full fledge journeyman lineman.I believe its because of the near misses Ive reported (which i might add they were not filled out properly by management)for a period of 3.5 years to my local union & the company i worked for 22 years.Alliant energy has several subsidaries that they have contracts with.I worked for one for 16.5 years IPC.This was a contract that covered the NE part of Iowa. I crossed contracts in 2004 to go to another contract IES.Im here to tell you that line work being done at the IES contract was done with many short cuts that I brought up immediatly and to the very day they terminated me on OCT. 27 2010.
    Grounding was definitely an issue and what actually is a primary area.My foreman made the comment to me and other lineman while i was in our lunch room one day that the safety rules were made to cover the company’s ass.He is so far from the truth and definitely needs a rude awakening.I believe along with most journeyman that the safety rules were wrote in blood.Someone either died or was hurt bad and that rule was implemented for this reason.He wanted me to do exactly like them,unfortunately it cost me my job.The safety blue hat that was established more than a year ago for the company was informed by me many of times of rules that were not being followed.He made the comment to me that he needs to spend more time with us.Again unfortunately he did not.I kept calling him and giving him information but he did nothing with it .Another thing like i said no one makes unexpected visits, they would actually call and tell the foreman he’ll be there in 5 minutes . My foreman then would say something like you guys better get your vests on because
    Jimmy will be here soon.When actually he should of said get your vests on now because your required to wear them.He actually told me one time Larry all you had to do is do like everyone else and you would have blended in.Management knew of this comment immediately but it went know where. Line work can be a very dangerous job but if you follow the rules for the most part its a very rewarding and ssfe job.I believe that closely monitoring line crews with former lineman that were trained properly would save alot of lives and lost time accidents.Please do something about this.I feel as thou I have been retaliated against and all
    i was doing was trying to do line work the way i was taught and that was the safe way!
    I understand why this is still going on in this day and age because of training that someone has had and no one to police it. Managers that don’t know line work also does not help!Hey ill be there in 5 minutes what a joke.This has been a very difficult time for my family and i.Wish i knew how to over come this.With the holidays coming it won’t make things any better.Guess i should of blended in ???????? At least i still would have my job.

    • jimschuster
      December 7, 2010 at 8:30 am

      Larry: It’s unfortunate that your attention to safety was not seen as a positive attribute. You mention 3 words that I hear over and over when in comes to safety and accidents (or near misses): Training, shortcuts & management. Your story is not unique. Quite often proper safety training is not provided or followed. Workers take short-cuts on the job, which ultimately lead to accidents. Management that is not knowledgeable about the job or doesn’t promote the safety culture put lives at risk. As you can see from this blog, electrical accidents injur and kill workers every day and this is especially true with high voltage lines. Maybe you need to be looking for a safety manager job with an electrical company – you’ve got the right attitude. Keep safe!

  2. Lawrence e. Bird
    December 7, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Ill never forget the saftey message the company sent out to employees.What you permit you promote.This really sums things up as a whole.If the leader on your crew permits the short cut, its like its bred into the people you train all the way from a apprentice to a journeyman lineman. Thanks for your input I will definitely consider your comment.I truly loved my job.I had a passion for it. Sincerly Larry Bird

  3. Lawrence e. Bird
    December 26, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Happy holidays to all and keep safe!

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