Electric shocks burn holes in workers' feet 02 December 2005
Two roofers working on a building in Napier yesterday were left with burn holes the size of 50 cent pieces in their feet after receiving massive electric shocks from nearby power lines.
The two men, believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, were lucky to escape with their lives, a firefighter who attended the incident said.
The power lines which struck them down around mid-morning were carrying 33,000 volts.
The pair were fixing flashing to the side of a building and were working from a hydraulic lift platform several metres off the ground when they got the electric shocks.
A fire service spokesman said it did not appear as if the men had actually brushed the nearby lines with a strip of the metal flashing – instead, it appeared the flashing came close to the lines and caused them to arc.
He said the electricity entered their bodies through their hands and exited through their feet.
Their socks and boots were burned off and their feet left with blistering holes.
The flashing bounced power against the side of the building leaving scorch marks.
Building owner XXXXX XXXXXXX, one of the first on the scene, said the incident left everyone badly shaken.
Initial fears for the men however turned to relief as they were found to be conscious although complaining of pain.
Firefighters joined St John Ambulance officers in getting the injured men off the platform and to a waiting ambulance.
"They were talking to us about the pain they were feeling. They were aware of what was going on," a firefighter said.
Both were taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital. It is understood they are both satisfactory.
Management of the company the men were working for, XXXXXXX Roofing, did not wish to comment.
The incident is being investigated by Occupational Safety and Health inspectors, the Labour Department confirmed today.
Joe, There was actaully a picture associated with this story on the site where I found it. It showed the burns the victims recieved, however I elected not to include it. There's enough scary pictures around the Net as it is, without putting them on here as well. By the looks of things, the current had caused quite an exit wound and yes, they did look to be slightly cauterised.
#150822 - 12/03/0506:00 PMRe: Two very lucky young men
Just a little addendum to this story, It was found that the HV lines in question here were running on poles along the side of the footpath (sidewalk). The building was rather close to the front boundary of the property and the team were using the Scissor lift in the space between the lines and the building. With the building being a Commercial type the lengths of flashing would have been 15ft (5m) long. My guess would be that they were moving a length of this either steel or aluminium profile, when it encroached on the flash-over distance of the nearby 33kV lines. What makes this accident even harder to swallow is the fact that it is well publicised here that any Lines Co will sleeve any bare lines where work is going to be performed nearby, for free. It's even written in the Electricity Act here. There's just no need for silly accidents like this to even happen.
#150826 - 12/11/0501:06 PMRe: Two very lucky young men