Bangalore, India: Even as Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) winds up its one-week awareness programme, it is confronted with an ever-increasing number of fatalities, due to electrocution. The latest being the death of a farmer who touched a faulty fuse on his pumpset near Vittal on Wednesday.
Between April and December, 52 persons, including one official, died in electrical accidents involving Mescom connections. By sheer extrapolation, the financial year 2013-14 will record the most accidents for the public utility company – which serves Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga and Chikmagalur – in the recent years.
Officials offer a bevy of reasons, the prime being sagging wires, bent poles – either due to trees or branches falling during the monsoons, or damage to poles during ploughing or construction work – improper grounding due to stagnating water, illegal construction close to electric lines and illegal irrigation pumpsets among others.
Employee deaths are attributed to “overconfidence” in not creating a ‘safe zone’ while repairing live wires, or “procedural lapses” arising due to pressures of attending numerous complaints during the monsoons.
“During the rains, the porcelain insulators may develop hairline cracks, and as water seeps in, the insulators conduct electricity. If the lineman, who has to climb up each pole and see the insulators, is not observant, he may end up touching a live insulator,” said an official. A rainy night may see a team of linemen attending four to five calls, adding to the possibility of procedural lapses, he said.
Though at least two linemen have died in service in the district, since April last year, they do not feature in official records of Mescom personnel dead in the district – the number remains zero. The reason being, said officials, that linemen on contract are not considered “employees of Mescom”.
“For the regular linemen they get facilities of rehabilitation from Mescom. For the contract workers, you have to haggle with the contractor for additional funds,” said Shivkumar, president of the Mescom non-permanent workers association.
Story Via: thehindu.com
Brooklyn, NY: A telecommunications company has reached a settlement with OSHA resolving litigation surrounding the electrocution death of an employee in 2011 in Brooklyn. Under the agreement, the company will pay a fine of $147,000 and make changes to its electrical safety training.
OSHA Regional Administrator Robert Kulick commented, “While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers, and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future.”
The fatality occurred when a field technician came into contact with an energized power line as he worked from an aerial lift bucket. OSHA determined that field technicians were not adequately trained, did not wear proper protective gloves, and did not ground the suspension strand they were installing.
The settlement was filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which reviews contested cases.
Story Via: safety.blr.com
Spokane, WA: Thieves in northern Idaho and eastern Washington state are still targeting copper wire for the scrap market despite lower metal prices and electrocution risks, power company officials say. Officials tell The Spokesman-Review that thieves cause higher electricity bills for customers and endanger the public by leaving live wires. Dan Kolbet, communications manager for Avista Utilities, said thieves have cut down live lines and climbed substation fences to steal equipment that could kill them.
“In the substation, it’s scary dangerous for the folks doing it, because if they cut the wrong wire they’re dead in about that fast,” Kolbet said, snapping his fingers.
Shawn Dolan is the manager of engineering at Kootenai Electric Cooperative, based in Hayden in northern Idaho.
“They’re not getting a lot of money for the damage they’re doing,” he told The Spokesman-Review.
He said the company recently discovered copper grounding wire, worth about $200 on the scrap metal market, missing from about 60 poles in rural areas north and south of Coeur d’Alene. He said it will cost about $10,000 to replace ground wires, with ratepayers paying for the thefts.
He also said the missing grounding wire means line crews don’t have a safety guard to tie into while working on the poles. And if a storm or car crash knocks down a pole, the wires might not de-energize properly. In addition, voltage fluctuations can be caused by improperly grounded power lines that can damage home electronics.
“For 200 bucks, what they’re doing is risking our workers’ safety, their lives. They could kill a lineman,” Dolan said. “They’re also potentially damaging other people’s electrical appliances.”
“That’s what amazes us more than anything,” said Pat Osborn, supply chain supervisor at Inland Power & Light Co., a rural electric co-op serving areas outside Spokane. “You look at minimum wage in Washington, and these guys could work an eight-hour shift and make quite a bit more.”
Jim Schrock of Earthworks Recycling in Spokane said he pays about $2.75 a pound for good copper, down from $3.30 two years ago. Both Idaho and Washington state have laws intended to deter metal thieves.
“We probably kick out six to 10 people a week,” said Schrock. “We basically say don’t come back and tell all your friends not to come in, because they’re acting squirrelly or they’re on a list where they’ve been convicted of crimes, or they’re trying to skirt the metal law.”
Story via seattletimes.com
Canberra, Australia: A 20-year-old electrical apprentice is in hospital after falling five metres at a worksite in Canberra’s south. The man was up a ladder conducting maintenance work on a garage roller door when he received an electric shock from a live wire on Wednesday afternoon. He fell five metres to the ground and sustained serious head injuries. Canberra Hospital says the man is currently stable but in a critical condition.
The man was working for a company contracted by the ACT Government to carry out maintenance on the site at the old bus depot on Dundas Street in Phillip. The site is being leased by a car detailing company. ACT Government has shut down the work site. The accident happened just hours after the construction union staged a rally in Civic calling on the ACT Government to improve worker safety on construction sites. Police and WorkSafe ACT are investigating. Work safety commissioner Mark McCabe says it is an extremely serious incident. “Some people have said to me ‘will it become more serious if the condition of the worker worsens?’,” he said.
“It will from a human point of view. From our point of view it’s a serious incident already. It could very easily have led to a much worse circumstance than it is as the moment. It’s up there with the highest of incidents.” The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is seeking more details about the accident. Mick Koppie says the union understands the apprentice was working alone. “It needs to be investigated along those lines,” he said.
“I understood he received an electric shock and then fell to the floor below him and landed on his head.” WorkSafe says that will form part of their investigation. “What is happening there with that wiring, and why was it in that state?” Mr McCabe said. “I’m certainly concerned at the things our inspectors are finding, I think it will become a complex investigation.”
By law all apprentices must be supervised while performing live electrical work. There have been four fatal accidents on Canberra work sites since last December.
Submissions closed yesterday for an inquiry into workplace safety set up by the ACT Government.
The apprentice was employed by a contractor for the Government.
Story via ww.abc.net,au
Penal, Trinidad and Tobago: A 46-YEAR-old Penal electrician died yesterday after he was electrocuted while working on a lamp post at Point Fortin. Gayadeen Lookhoor, of Ramjohn Trace, was said to have suffered an electrical shock while he was descending a pole and fell off a ladder. Lookhoor and other employees of N and S Electrical Contractors, of Penal, were changing conductors and isolating lines along the Dunlop stretch in the vicinity of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) sub-station.
Police were told around 8.55 a.m. Lookhoor was descending a lamp post when his shoulder touched a live wire. He fell off a ladder and fell 20 feet to the ground. An ambulance took him to the Point Fortin Health Facility where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Corporate Communications manager at T&TEC Annabelle Brasnell stated in a release that T&TEC has appointed a five-member committee to investigate the fatal accident. Lookhoor’s death follows three other fatal incidents involving electricians working on T&TEC lines.
Last September, T&TEC craftsman trainee Richie Rivers, 23, was electrocuted while working on the Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna. Rivers, of Rio Claro, was working on an electricity pole when he was electrocuted and he fell 20 feet to the ground. Then on January 10, Ghanaian national Samuel Ownsu also died from electrocution. A week later, electrical linesman Gary Patterson, 42, died while on duty at Siparia.
The Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is expected to hold a press conference on the issue of fatal accidents at the workplace today at its headquarters at Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando.
Story via trinidadexpress.com
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BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Kansas City, Mo.-based PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. for three alleged safety violations following the Dec. 22, 2011, death of an employee who was electrocuted while working on a power line near the town of Two Dot, Mont., approximately 100 miles outside of Billings.
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent tragic workplace incidents such as this from happening,” said Trina Mailloux, acting director of OSHA’s Billings Area Office. “Employers must ensure that workers are protected when working near power lines.”
OSHA has issued citations for two serious violations involving exposing workers to electrocution hazards when they are working in close proximity to energized parts without approved insulating safeguards and failing to discontinue the power line work when high winds made the situation particularly hazardous. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Additionally, a citation has been issued for one repeat violation involving failing to keep new conductors under positive control in order to prevent accidental contact with energized circuits.
In February 2007, OSHA cited PAR Electrical Contractors for essentially the same violation identified at a Missouri job site. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The citations carry a total of $52,500 in proposed fines. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Story via OSHA.
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Fiarhope, FL- Fairhope officials say Greg McCoy, and employee with the city of Fairhope Electrical Department, was injured.
They say it was the result of a shock caused by electrical contact. McCoy was performing work on a power line located on South Section Street at Morphy Avenue when the accident occurred.
He was taken to USA Medical Center in Mobile by Life-Flight helicopter.
Scott Sligh, Superintendent of the Electric Department, stated that Mr. McCoy was wearing all required safety equipment at the time. He also said the exact circumstances that led to the accident are under investigation.
Sligh said that Mr. McCoy was in an elevated aerial lift working on the power line when the electrical contact occurred and credits other electric department employees with saving McCoy.
Benjamin Patterson and Douglas Brown, employed with the electric department, were present at the work site and brought Mr. McCoy down safely, sought medical treatment, and are credited with saving his life.
A power outage occurred as a result of the accident, affecting wide-spread areas of Fairhope, but electrical service has been restored.
Story via Fox10TV.com