SAFETY ALERT #2001-51 from the Canadian Petroleum Safety Council

25 kV Power Line Contact
A Frac crew completed the first of two Fracs at approximately 10:30 AM and proceeded to a second location. The equipment was spotted and rigged in on the second location. The sand transport was backed up to the blender sand hopper. The sand transport trailer was positioned underneath a power line. The chemical van was parked directly underneath and parallel to the power line.

The Pre-pump safety meeting was held (job reviewed, high-pressure pumping hazards, CO2 hazards, and equipment assignments, no discussion was held regarding the overhead power line).

After the safety meeting the personnel began preparations to pressure test the surface lines and begin the frac. The sand transport operator hoisting the sand box when the 25kV overhead power line was contacted or the electricity arced across to the sandbox.

The operator was thrown back 6 to 10 feet from the unit onto the ground. The tires and surrounding grass started on fire. Several workers ran over to the sand truck to put the fire out with portable fire extinguishers.

The Supervisors determined that the unit had contacted the overhead power line and sent all personnel to the safe meeting area. Two workers assisted the injured worker to the safe area where he was given first aid. The injured worker was transported by ambulance to Hospital where treated and released that evening.

Fortunately the worker received minor injuries. All 18 tires/rims and numerous suspension components required replacing on the unit.

Failure to recognize and control the potential hazard;
Inadequate pre-job planning and hazard review, to address site specific requirements (congested areas, power-lines);
Congested work-site due to simultaneous operations (production facilities, land-farming, testing equipment);
Failure to follow company policy and procedures, and;
Inadequate supervision.

Post incident review meeting held on location with all personnel;
Develop a Safety Meeting (power point) presentation to review the incident, hazards and controls associated with overhead power-lines;
Co-ordinate an operational review of the pre job safety meeting process (which includes hazard assessment process) to ensure the process is effective. Develop recommendations and provide follow-up;
Work with Utility (electrical) Companies to provide demonstrations on Overhead Power Line Safety at all facilities;
Overhead Hazard awareness stickers will be applied near control panels on equipment that is designed to be raised (ie sand trucks, iron trucks, pickers and cranes);
Complete a full mechanical inspection of unit, and;
Develop & circulate joint safety alert for industry (information will be shared via Petroleum Safety Counsel).

Remember: No Job Is So Important That You Cannot Take The Time To Look Up And Recognize The Hazards Of High Voltage Lines.

John Artym
Phone: (403) 531-5210