Posts Tagged ‘power line’

WA: Copper Theives Risk Electrocution

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

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


Australia: Apprentice in Hospital, Fall after Shock

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

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,au


CA: Electrical Arc Causes Fire

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Santa Barbara, California: A fast-moving vegetation fire that scorched 10 acres Monday afternoon at Highway 101 and Refugio Road was caused by an electrical arc, Capt. David Sadecki, a Santa Barbara County fire spokesman, said Tuesday.

The electrical fire, which broke out about 4:30 p.m. on the northbound side of the highway, threatened one structure and sent a plume of black smoke into the sky that was seen for miles.

Temperatures at the time were in the mid 80s with little wind.

The fire was contained at 7 p.m., but firefighters stayed at the scene for several hours mopping up, according to Sadecki. There were no injuries.

Sadecki said that an investigation showed the fire originated at the base of one of the power poles where the support line is anchored into the ground. The fire started when a bird caused the electrical power to arc and go to ground, down the support stay line, igniting the vegetation around the support line anchor.

Ground and air units, including two helicopters and two Cal Fire air tankers, fought the blaze.

Additionally, eight engines, two water tenders, three dozers, two hand crews and two chief officers responded.

Access to the fire was difficult because of limited roads in the area and steep terrain, according to Sadecki. The two helicopters made numerous drops to slow the forward progress of the fire, while air tankers worked the flanks.

Traffic on Highway 101 was slowed in the area of the fire, but the highway remained open.

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ME: Crash Causes Power Surge, Ignites Down East Community Hospital

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

MACHIAS, Maine — Daniel Snowdeal, 48, of Jonesboro was charged Tuesday with leaving the scene of a property damage accident after a vehicle he is suspected of driving crashed into a utility pole on Court Street in Machias on Monday night, triggering a power surge that sparked an electrical fire at the Down East Community Hospital.

The surge, at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday, filled the radiology wing of the 25-bed hospital with smoke, but none of the patients needed to be evacuated, according to Machias Fire Chief Joey Dennison.

Hospital spokesperson Julie Hixson said Tuesday no patients were affected by the fire. The radiology department, she said, used portable technology while electricians worked Tuesday to restore power to in-house equipment. The hospital relied on its emergency backup generators for almost 12 hours, with power being restored at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Hixson said the cost of damages had not been estimated.

The accident remains under investigation by the Machias Police Department.

Story via Bangor Daily News

OMAN: 2 Workers Electrocuted

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Muscat, Oman: The Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) has blamed civil contractors for the electrocution of two workers, who fell on overhead power lines in Mabella area recently.  “The two workers were electrocuted when the scaffolding they were moving fell on an overhead line in Mabella,” according to a press release issued by the MEDC.  Following this incident, the MEDC has advised civil contractors, especially those working near overhead lines, to adhere strictly to safety measures.

According to the preliminary reports, the incident occurred when the scaffolding that was being moved by the workers fell on the 11KV lines, causing a direct contact to ground.

ttp://″ target=”_top”>< IMG src=”; height=”” width=”” hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ border=”0″ alt=”Click Here!”>< /A>“Lack of proper safety training led to the labourers’ ignorance of the dangers of a high scaffolding toppling onto overhead lines,” Majid Al Rahbi, electrical safety engineer at MEDC, said in the press release.“It was extremely dangerous to try to move scaffolding of that height when it is erected closed to overhead lines without partly dismantling it into manageable sections,” he explained.

Sultan Al Hinai, Health and Safety Awareness-in-charge at the MEDC, lashed out at the contractors for their ‘negligence’. “The two workers were not following basic safety procedures. Every worker has a responsibility to work safely and as an employer, the company has to bear responsibility to look after the safety of its workers on site,” he said.

The MEDC, meanwhile, is also considering a proposal to make it mandatory for any scaffolding and construction work near MEDC overhead lines to be first authorised by MEDC.

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CA: 2 Women Electrocuted Saving Driver, Others Suffer Electricity Injuries

August 23, 2012 1 comment

Los Angelas, California:  A witness to the aftermath of a deadly Valley Village accident that electrocuted two women said the scene was frightening and chaotic.  Liz Casmier, who lives at the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue, said dozens of people rushed to the scene after the driver of a white SUV crashed into a fire hydrant and light standard, finally coming to rest on her front lawn.

As water spewed from the broken hydrant, it came into contact with live wires from the overturned light pole and became electrified, authorities said. Two women who had raced to help the driver were electrocuted and died at the scene. “It was horrible, chaotic, just horrible,” Casmier said.

Many people initially tried to help, she said, but as several would-be rescuers were injured, others realized the water was electrified and had to stop. One man, who appeared to be the husband or close relative of one of the victims, was on his knees, distraught, on the ground near the woman, Casmier said.“It’s so horrible and sad,” she said.Los Angeles police have identified one of the women who died as Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank. The identity of the other woman has not been released. Information about the driver, who survived, has not been released, police said.Story via LA Times

Trinidad and Tabago: T&TEC Electrician Electrocuted

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment

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

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