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Tree trimming is Dangerous Work

A tree trimmer from Bellevue, Nebraska was electrocuted when the ladder he was holding touched a power line. From the news report the shock didn't kill the man. I wonder what materials his ladder was made from. OSHA has an entire section on ladder safety. It's titled OSHA Construction eTool and subtitled Ladder Safety. There is an entire section under falls subtitled Misuse of Portable Ladders. It's all printed under Ladder Safety and Electrical Hazards.

Worker Deaths by Falls: A Summary of Surveillance Findings and Investigative Case Reports. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication 2000-116, (2000, September).

Here is the written rule concerning overhead power lines.

Scaffolds must not be close enough to overhead power lines that they, or any conductive materials (e.g. building materials, paint roller extensions, scaffold components) that may be handled on them, come closer than 10 feet to the power line (Figures 2 and 3).

Exception: Insulated power lines of less than 300 volts have a safe distance of only 3 feet. 

TIP: Because it may be difficult to determine if a power line is insulated, or what its exact voltage is, the 10 foot rule should always be applied.

Scaffolds may be closer to overhead power lines than specified above if such proximity is necessary for the type of work being done, and if the power company or electrical system operator has been notified and has either:

De-energized the lines (Figure 1);

Relocated the lines;

Installed protective coverings to prevent accidental contact with the lines. [1926.451(f)(6)]

See Electrical Hazards at the Department of Labor website.

Ladder Safety, Safety With Ladders Doing Electrical Work, Timothy Thiele.

Live Line Demo, Timothy Thiele

Testing Electrical Testers For Safety

Amperage Not Voltage Kills

What To Do In The Event Of Electrical Burns

Troubleshooting and Safety

Top Electrical Safety Tips- How To Stay Safe When Working With Electricity

Safety and your Teenager

Overhead Power Lines - Safe Clearances For Overhead Power Lines

Safe Clearances For Overhead Power Lines

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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