Laborer Electrocuted When Jackhammer Strikes Underground Power Line

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Type:  Report - Gov

Publisher:  Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA


Topics:  Electrical, Construction/Project Management

On August 20, 2014, a 38-year-old laborer was electrocuted when the jackhammer he was using struck an underground power line. The incident happened at a hospital parking lot where his employer was a subcontractor hired to install a storm water drainage system. His employer was a site preparation contractor. At the location they were working there was a buried duct bank which was in the way and conflicted with the plans for installing the storm drain. This duct bank contained three lines of PVC electrical conduit piping encased in concrete. Each line of conduit piping contained four power line cables carrying 7,200 volts each. In order to install the storm drain pipes to the necessary grade, the employees were using an excavator, breaker bar, and a rivet-buster-type jackhammer to chip away at the duct bank concrete. The victim was in the trench chipping the duct banks concrete when his rivet buster punctured the conduit and contacted the power line cable. He was electrocuted and died at the scene.

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