Archive for November, 2011

MN Electrical Worker Killed while on Scissor Lift

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Nov 2, 2o11 – Sioux Falls, MN – Sioux Falls Police have released the name of a Minnesota electrical worker killed in a job site accident Tuesday morning.

Bruce Lynn Leibfried, 58, of Arko, Minn., was working on a scissor lift at the post office building on 4801 N. Fourth Avenue in Sioux Falls.

He came to work at about 7 a.m. and no one was nearby when the bucket of his crane was lodged between some tubing and a rafter in the ceiling, according to Det. Sean Kooistra of the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Rural Metro ambulance responded to the call of an accident at about 8 a.m. Leibfried was dead at the scene.

Kooistra did not know which company Liebfried was working for.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to conduct an investigation into the incident.

Story via

Home Electrical Safety Check App Launched in UK

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

A new study finds that millions of people in the UK expose themselves and their families to potentially fatal accidents in the home through simple electrical blunders because of an alarming lack of knowledge about the real danger of electricity.

Today, on the birthday of the National Grid, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is launching a free smartphone app to help people ensure their families and homes are safe. 

The research from ESC reveals a dangerous level of ignorance about the perils of electricity in UK households. In the past year, almost one million people have repaired an appliance while it is still plugged in; despite the fact this can result in a fatal or serious injury.

Other electrical ‘confessions’ included knowingly using faulty plugs or sockets (12.2 million people), ignoring burning smells coming from an appliance or socket (1.5 million people) and trailing cables near hot surfaces or cookers (2 million people). 

People are severely misjudging the risks involved with electricity.  At least one person dies each week from its everyday use, while 350,000 people are seriously injured annually[.

Yet those surveyed were as concerned about having an electrical accident as they were of being in a plane crash, or getting struck by lightning[iii]. In reality, on average, only one person in the UK is killed by lightning each year[iv] and no one has died in a commercial plane accident in 11 years[v]. 

Easy to prevent

Most electrical accidents can be prevented by a Residual Current Device (RCD), a life-saving device which prevents you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire.

It works by cutting power if there is a surge. However, the ESC study shows a serious lack of knowledge of this vital safety device: 70% of people surveyed do not know what an RCD is and almost half of all UK homes (49%) don’t have adequate RCD protection.

In contrast, smoke alarms are owned by 88% of the population but nearly half[vi] (49%) of accidental housefires in the UK are caused by electricity.

Celebrity home improvers, Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, want people to take charge of their electrical safety. Colin said: “We have seen plenty of dodgy wiring in our time but often it is the simple things that people could check themselves – such as a wire left near a hot surface or an overloaded socket – that can lead to a serious accident.

“We are urging everyone – including those looking to move into a new home – to download the free ESC app as a basic protection for themselves and their families.”

Free and impartial help

The new ESC app, which launches today, allows anyone – whether they live in the home or are looking to move into it – to do a quick, visual check, to ensure its electrically safety. Designed to be as easy-to-use as possible, the app highlights potential dangers in each room and explains how to resolve simple, non-technical problems.

Where more serious issues are flagged, people are advised to use a registered electrician. The app is available for iPhone and Android phones – just go to the App Store or Android Market, search for ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ then follow the instructions to download.

Director General of the ESC, Phil Buckle, said: “Electricity has become vital to our lives since the formation of the National Grid, 76 years ago.

“Yet even though we are using more electrical products than ever before, there is a worrying gap between the public’s perception of electrical danger and the reality, with people making simple yet potentially fatal errors that can be easily prevented.

“The ESC’s Home Electrical Safety Check app was designed to bridge that gap. We wanted to create something which people would find effortless but essential.

“It can be used any time in your home. It can also be used as a basic tool when viewing accommodation, whether you are planning to buy or rent.

“Landlords too, should find it useful, as it will allow them to review their properties to ensure tenant safety.”

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2 Delaware City Employees Suffer Arc Flash Accident

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

DOVER, Del.- Dover officials say two city employees suffered electric flash-related injuries (arc flash) Thursday while working on equipment as part of the city’s reconstruction program.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. Independence Boulevard near the Route 8 intersection. Dave Hiser, 27, and Dave Boyd, 41, were both transported to Kent General Hospital for burns, where Hiser is listed in stable condition. Boyd was transferred to Crozer Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.

“I cannot convey the way this makes all of us feel,” said City Manager Scott Koenig. “Any accident of this nature is very serious and hits home when it is part of the City of Dover family.  Please keep these members of our staff and their families in your thoughts and prayers.” 

The incident remains under investigation.

Story via

RCD Promoted to Curb Electrical Accidents at Homes in UK

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Buckinghamshire, UK – Young carers from Milton Keynes recently had the chance to visit Hazard Alley Safety Centre and learn how to stay safe from Electrical Fires, thanks to The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) funding.

Electricity is now the cause of half of all accidental fires in UK homes. At least one person dies every week in the UK and 350,000 are seriously injured every year. The ESC grant will go towards educating Milton Keynes young carers about the common causes of electrical accidents and how to protect themselves and their homes.

The Centre, based on Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes is an indoor, interactive educational facility which delivers safety messages in an experiential way. It houses a small “town” with life-sized scenarios including a road, houses, a garage, a lake and a building site. Children have an exciting experience whilst learning important safety messages

Many electrical accidents can be prevented by a Residual Current Device (RCD), a device that protects against fatal electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. An RCD can either be installed in a fusebox or bought from about £10 for a local DIY or garden centre – However, more than half of us – that’s 13 million homes – don’t have one . Hazard Alley Safety Centre will help educate young carers about the importance of RCDs.

The funding from the ESC has allowed the Safety Centre to offer a specially adapted tour to Young Carers in Milton Keynes free of charge – Sarah Paynes, a young carers support worker from Carers Milton Keynes said ” Young carers are very often the responsible person in the home when looking after someone who is ill or disabled and it is very important that they receive this education around safety in the home. We are very grateful to the Safety Centre for providing us with this opportunity and know that the children who attended had a fantastic time. They were very excited about the visit !” ”

Lorraine Carney, Senior Campaigns Manager at the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) said: “Our primary objective is to help people stay safer around electricity. So we are delighted to work with the Hazard Alley Safety Centre to support their innovative scheme. According to government statistics, almost half of all accidental fires in UK homes – that’s over 20,000 each year – are caused by electricity, so it’s vital that people are made aware of where electrical dangers may arise in their homes and understand how to prevent an electrical-related accident happening.”

To find out more about the Safety Centre go to and more about the Carers Milton Keynes

Electrical Control Panel Crushes Worker in Wales

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Ebbw Vale, Wales – Nov 25, 2011 – A family could seek personal injury compensation after a man died in a fatal accident at work.

Gareth Young passed away in August 2009 when an electrical control cabinet weighing around half a tonne fell on top of him while he worked for Moulded Paper at an industrial estate in Ebbw Vale.

The 60-year-old was crushed by the object as he attempted to remove sheet metal from it for re-use and apparently did not know it was unsecured as it lent against a wall at the premises.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that IMCO Limited – trading as Moulded Paper – had not taken sufficient precautions to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

Trevor Hay, inspector of the HSE, observed: “A competent risk assessment would have revealed the instability of the electrical control cabinet that fell on Mr Young.”

Recently, Terence Gardiner died when his neck was crushed in a piece of machinery while working for HG Gladwell and Sons near Ipswich.

Story via Russell, Jones & Walker

Electrical Control Panels Should be Securely Fastened to the Wall.  Perform Electrical Safety Audits to increase the safety of your workplace.

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Electrical Safety Advised for Holiday Decorations

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 21, 2011 – Thanksgiving weekend for millions is when the boxes of lights come out and the decorating begins. Unfortunately, every year people are hurt in decorating accidents. The U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission reports that during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating.

Keep your holiday season safe and bright, and learn from the tragic experience of Shawn Miller who was helping his mother light her yard for the holidays.

“I was just hanging Christmas lights at my mom’s house like I do every year,” Miller said. “Only this time, I was decorating a new area – the trees that lined the front of the yard.” As he tossed lights up into the trees, 7200 volts of electricity entered his body, traveling from the overhead power lines through his strand of lights. He suffered 27 exit wounds and the loss of his left hand, among other injuries.

“Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside,” Miller urges, “especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them. I’m lucky to be alive. I want everyone to be careful – be aware of power lines.”

“Shawn Miller has a lot to teach us about electrical safety, and we are grateful he has shared his story,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program.

“Had I known more before this happened, I might still have two hands and the job I loved,” Miller said. “I want to help people learn from what has happened to me. Safe Electricity is helping me help others.”

Hall encourages people to visit to see the video of Miller’s story, as well as a checklist of safety tips when decorating outdoors and inside.

Safe Electricity is the award-winning program of the Energy Education Council, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting electrical safety and that also provides information on energy efficiency and renewable resources. Energy Education Council members include more than 400 utilities in 26 states as well as energy-related organizations and educators.

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Electrical Outlet Malfunction Burns GA Home Down

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Norcross, GA – Firefighters say they found a two-story home up in flames around 4 a.m. in an unincorporated area of Norcross. Two parents and three teenagers were displaced in the fire and the family dog is still missing. The fire has been ruled an accident, the result of a electrical malfunction with a garage wall outlet and a power strip, according to fire investigators. 

Firefighters found smoke and heavy fire coming from the garage when they pulled into the home on the 6300 block of Delnorte Court, said Lt. Eric Eberly of the Gwinnett County Fire Dept. in a release. 

“Firefighters made an offensive attack to battle the blaze and to search for victims,” said Eberly. “The quick actions from firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to nearby homes.” Neighbors were temporarily evacuated in case the fire did spread. 

No injuries were reported in the fire, according to the fire department release. The damage to the home was described heavy around the garage area and moderate in other parts of the house. 

Story Via Norcross Patch

Police Officer in Hawaii Shocked by Lighting Fixture

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Honolulu, HI – Nov. 14–The 31-year-old Honolulu Police officer injured by an electrical shock while working a security detail near the airport has been released from Queen’s Medical Center.

The officer was staffing a security post at Aolele street set up for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings when he touched a road lighting fixture on a railing and was shocked, police said.

Dan Meisenzahl, the state Department of Transportation spokesman, said maintenance crews today are investigating the ramp’s railing which contains the lighting fixture.

Paramedics were sent to the scene about 6:30 p.m., a spokesman for the city Department of Emergency Services said.

The officer was treated at Queen’s Sunday night and released. His name and extent of injuries was not released.

Story via

Teen Electrocuted by Retail Sign on Street in Bali

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

BALI, Indonesia – police are considering bringing charges of criminal negligence following the death by electrocution of central coast teenager Jake Flannery – but they don’t know who exactly to blame.

As the parents of the popular young man were due to arrive at the holiday island late tonight for the sad task of bringing their son’s body home, police are investigating whether the owners of the Joker’s Cafe, the government electricity provider or the local Public Works Office is responsible.

Mr Flannery, 18, died instantly at about 3am on Saturday morning after he stumbled and grabbed onto a neon sign owned by the Kuta establishment as he tried to squeeze around a large pile of pavers that had been left on the street.

It had been raining heavily before the accident, which occurred when Mr Flannery was walking down the street with a group of friends who had travelled with him to Bali to celebrate schoolies.

While Colin Flannery, the teenager’s father, has said the family blames no one, a Kuta Police senior detective, Inspector Muhammad Wahyudin Latif, told the Jakarta Globe: “There are very strong indications of criminal negligence in this case, but we haven’t set our sights on any one party yet.”

Inspector Muhammad was speaking after police staged a re-enactment of the accident, requiring Mr Flannery’s friends to return to the scene to participate in the Indonesian police tradition.

A spokesman for Bali’s electricity company, Agung Mastika, said: “It’s not our responsibility. Our responsibility ends at the meter. It is the responsibility of the client. It [the accident] didn’t happen on the street, we sent someone to check [on Saturday] and we notified the cafe owner.”

The manager of Joker’s Cafe, which also sells alcohol, told media that tourists were to blame for the accident. Inebriated foreigners often bumped into the sign, and probably damaged the wiring, he said.

The Badung Works Office, which left the pile of pavers in the street, was unwilling to comment yesterday.

As the blame game gathered pace, the parents of Mr Flannery have shown great composure and grace as they dealt with the unexpected death of a much-loved son.

The parents, Colin and Cheryl, and Mr Flannery’s sisters are going to Bali “to make peace”, rather than find a culprit. Colin Flannery told Channel Ten the family accepted it was an unfortunate accident.

“Jake was a wonderful boy who gave so much love to everyone. He had a wonderful life ahead of him and it’s such a tragedy that it’s been cut short,” the family said in a statement released yesterday.

“We have wonderful memories of him. The reason we are going to Bali today is to bring Jake home and to thank the people who helped him over there. We also want to make peace.”

A spokesman for Bali’s main hospital, Sanglah, said it was “rare” to treat victims of electrocution. Months would go by without any victims presenting at the hospital, said Dr Dudut, who goes by one name.

Even so, Indonesia is a developing country and there was no shortage of commentary in response to Mr Flannery’s death bemoaning the dire state of electrical work in Bali and elsewhere across the archipelago.

A Bali-based Australian and blogger, Vyt Karazija, wrote he was not surprised by the tragedy.

“The quality of electrical work is abysmal,” he posted.

“I ride past villas under construction and see bare electrical cable being laid in concrete slabs without the use of conduits, cabling with savage kinks being pulled tight in walls and roofs, and metal boxes with fragile wiring poking through roughly drilled holes without the protection of tape, much less a grommet. I see rat’s nests of wiring on poles and main boards of shops and houses.”

A post on the Jakarta Globe’s website observed: “Impassable sidewalks and shoddy electrical installations are par for the course throughout Indonesia.”

Another remarked on Bali’s cluttered streets: “You cannot walk 15 feet [five metres] in Bali without going around something on, near or built on any footpath.”

Read More: Story Via The Sydney Morning Herald

Managers Blamed for NV Mine Deaths – Lack of Electrical System Maintenance Cited

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

RENO, NV –  Two Nevadans were killed in a mining accident partly because someone wedged a broom handle against a reset button to bypass an alarm that would have shut down the system, federal safety investigators said.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Monday that managers of Barrick Goldstrike’s Meikle Mine are responsible for the August 2010 accident in Carlin that killed Daniel Noel, 47, and Joel “Ethan” Schorr, 38.

The two Spring Creek men were struck by a pipe that gave way in a ventilation shaft because it was clogged with excessive waste rock material.

MSHA said the pipe overfilled because the broom handle kept the loading system from tripping off. The agency blames managers for failing to ensure the safe operation, inspection and maintenance of the mine.

“Management failed to ensure that the pipe, its support system, and electrical system were maintained in a safe condition to protect all persons who could be exposed to a hazard from any failure of the system,” MSHA said in the new report issued Monday.

“Additionally, management failed to maintain the electrical sensors and alarm systems and ensure that these systems could not be by-passed. A broom handle was used to wedge the electrical control panel reset button so the aggregate delivery system would continue to operate and not trip out,” the report said.

MSHA issued Toronto-based Barrick six safety violations as a result of the accident. MSHA terminated the last of the safety orders stemming from those violations on June 21 after Barrick constructed a new aggregate delivery system that eliminated the hazards, the agency said.

Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for MSHA’s parent Labor Department in Washington, said now that the investigative report is complete, MSHA officials will begin to consider what, if any, fines are warranted for each of the six safety violations.

Fines can range anywhere from $60 to $220,000 per violation, Louivere said. Once notified of an assessment, a company has 30 days to either pay it or contest it, she said.

Greg Lang, president of Barrick Gold of North America, said the findings “affirm Barrick’s belief that every accident is preventable.”

“While we have made great progress over many years at Barrick, this tragic accident reminds all of us that we have yet to achieve our goal of zero accidents and zero injuries,” Lang said in a statement on Monday. He said the company will thoroughly review MSHA’s report “to identify actions that need to be taken to prevent a similar accident at Meikle or any other Barrick mine.”

“Nothing can compensate for the impact that the loss of Dan Noel and Ethan Schorr has had on their loved ones and everyone who knew them, and our thoughts and prayers remain with their families,” he said.

The men were being lowered in the cage to inspect the pipe when the accident occurred about 2 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2010. Rescue crews found their bodies 32 hours later at an area about 1,300 feet below ground at the mine about 55 miles northwest of Elko and 275 miles northeast of Reno.

It marked the sixth and seventh fatalities at the mine since it opened in 1994.

One worker told investigators he had been asked to be on lookout on the day shift before the accident “because another employee had wedged a broom handle against the electrical control panel reset button and he wanted to be alerted if a supervisor was approaching,” MSHA’s report said.

MSHA investigators discovered a modified broom handle hidden near the instrument panel reset button.

“The end of the broom handle had been shaped with a notch of the correct size to allow it to be used to jam the panel reset button,” the report said. “Investigators positioned the broom handle and found it to fit perfectly when wedged between an electrical junction box and the instrument panel reset button.”

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