The attached is a Washington state Dept. of Labor and Industries official report on a 480 Volt near miss that happened last July. No was killed but one electrician was seriously burned and needed multiple skin graft surgeries. Thought you guys could post it on your web sites. BTW. Your web sites are absolutely fantastic. Keep up the excellent work. Thanks.
XXXX Electric Report #304662505
Three (3) employees of xxxx Electric were working at the Verizon building on 13 South Benton in Kennewick. Ed xxxx, Richard xxxxand Brian xxxx. Ed was the supervisor, Richard was the foreman and Brian was the electrician. Prior to start of work they had a meeting to discuss their job and determine how they were going to do it. According to statements and interviews the panel was energized, which is normal procedure, at approx. 2:45am on the morning of July 12, 2001 Ed had moved a 225-amp breaker down a notch, he then proceeded to move a 400-amp breaker down one notch. Just after he had popped the 400-amp breaker loose and was attempting to relocate it something happened, there was an apparent short somewhere and a ball of fire came from the panel, which caught him on fire. Richard and Brian attempted to put the fire on Ed out, at that time Darrell xxxx, of HP Construction came in with a fire extinguisher and squirted Ed with it, by then the room was full of smoke and the panel was still burning. Ed suffered burns to arms and chest; Richard had smoke inhalation, as well as minor burns. Brian had smoke inhalation, all 3 were treated at the Kennewick Hospital, and Ed was taken to Harborview in Seattle.
Facts: Work was inside a room approx. l8ft. wide by 25ft long Meeting prior to start of work The service panel was not de-energized 12:15am, power cut from service panel on Battery power was then used for about 20 minutes A panel connection was made The generator was started to carry the load. Ed popped a 225-amp breaker loose Moved it down one notch Ed popped a 400-amp breaker loose Moved it down one notch A short occurred at this time Transformer fuse blew Fire came bellowing out of the service panel Ed caught on fire Richard and Brian attempted to extinguish him Darrell got a fire extinguisher and did the job Darrell attempted to extinguish the panel fire - did not work Called 911 Brian received smoke inhalation Richard had minor burn and smoke inhalation All 3 were taken to hospital Darrell xxxx received no injuries Service panel was almost totally destroyed Building received no damage
Square D Panel Box: Case #1022941 (Square D, 1-888-778-2733) 480/277 VAC 7 Circuit Breakers Vertical Bus Bars Sticker indicated 1979 that it could have been installed Panel P/transfer SW ATX 36” Wide (approx), Approx. 7’ high Breakers are removed by sticking tool into a slot and then the breaker pops loose. Square D recommends de-energizing, but does not require it Breaker can be pulled out or just slid down to the next slot There are no exposed live parts The bus bar is insulated from contact Richard indicated that the panel was quite messy inside prior to the fire 2 doors on the panel 1 door is larger than other so that it cover the breakers
Causes: There were no apparent causes of this accident, other than there was a short somewhere in the panel. It is normal practice to move and remove circuit breakers without disconnecting the main power to the panel. In this case it would have been disconnected at the transformer on the pole outside. It was not because this was normal practice and has been for many years, even Square D does not require that the panel be de-energized prior to removing or installing breakers, they do however recommend it. Chap 155-428-1-f says the following: Work on energized equipment. Only qualified persons shall work on electric circuit parts of equipment that have not been de-energized under the procedures of WAC 296-155-429(4). Such persons shall be capable of working safely on energized circuits and shall be familiar with the proper use of special precautionary techniques, personal protective equipment, insulating and shielding materials, and insulated tools.
MY IEC INSTRUCTOR ALSO HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH AN I-LINE PNL(480-277V). HE SAID THE PANEL WAS OUTSIDE ABOUT 20'FT. FROM THE PAD MOUNTED XFMR, IT WAS MORNING WITH SOME DUE ON THE GROUND. HE HAD ALREADY TAKEN THE COVER OFF AND WAS ABOUT TO PUT A WRENCH TO THE FIRST BOLT HOLDING THE DEAD-FRONT, A FLASH OCCURED, GIVING HIM BURNS TO THE FACE AND HANDS. HIS WRATCHET-WRENCH WAS WELDED AT THE END FROM INNER ROTATING PART TO THE SOLID PART. HE HAD TO HAVE SKIN GRAFS ON ONE OF HIS HANDS, NOT TO MENTION LOOSING MOST OF HIS FACIAL HAIR. THE EXPLENATION GIVEN TO HIM FOR THE FLASH WAS THAT THE AIR "IONIZED" CAUSING THE ACCIDENT. JUST THOUGHT I'D RUN THIS BY YOU AND TO SEE WHO ALSO HAS A STORY ABOUT I-LINES.