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FACEValue: Teen roofer electrocuted by power line

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Case report: #18KY054
Issued by: Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Sept. 10, 2018

On the day of the incident, a 16-year-old worker arrived at the jobsite to begin roofing work on a residential home. Around noon, the victim picked up an aluminum extension ladder and moved it to the front of the house, where two large boxwood bushes were planted 3 feet from the home’s exterior wall. No witnesses were present, but it is believed the victim was having trouble accessing the roof because of the bushes. With the ladder fully extended, the victim attempted to move it closer by lifting the ladder and walking between the bushes to find a suitable base. The ladder became unstable, causing the victim to lose his balance and fall backward. As the victim and ladder were falling, the ladder struck a power line carrying 7,200 volts of electricity. Because the victim was in contact with the highly conductive aluminum ladder when it struck the power line, electricity was able to travel through the metal and into his body. He was immediately electrocuted.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Employers should complete a job hazard analysis before performing a new task.
  • Employers should comply with all federal, state and local regulations associated with youth employment, including safety training and hazard recognition.
  • Employers should consider using nonconductive ladders when working near electrical lines.
  • Employees should always lower the extended section and transport ladders horizontally.

To download the full report, go to sh-m.ag/2UWZQum.

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