Electrocution continues to be a significant cause of occupational injuries and death. It is a leading cause of occupational injury death in the United States, and a hazard to anyone whose job brings them into close proximity to electrical sources.
Four firefighters suffered from electric shock when their fire truck’s ladder got too close to an overhead power line while helping with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Campbellsville, Kentucky. The firemen from the Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Department had finished dumping buckets of ice water on students in the Campbellsville University marching band. With two firefighters inside the bucket and two on the ground, the men then began moving back the ladder.
CNN News (8.22.14) reported that two firefighters were on the lift bucket of the truck when it “crossed the electric energy threshold of an overhead power line,” and caused an “electric arc to strike both firemen.” In other words, the firefighters did not actually touch the power line itself, but came within three to four feet of the lines, causing the electricity to jump.
Captain Tony Grider, 41, and firefighter Simon Quinn, 22, were inside the bucket. One man was reported to be in critical condition, while the other was fair. Two other firefighters, Captain Steve Marrs, 37, and Alex Johnson, 28, received electric shocks when they tried to lower the bucket and an electric current traveled down the extended ladder, reported CNN.
The incident was being investigated.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media campaign that aims to raise awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Construction workers suffer more job-related electrocutions in this country that any other type of worker. In fact, electrocutions were the third leading cause of construction deaths causing 8.1% of the 806 construction worker deaths in 2012. A significant number of worker electrocution fatalities happen when workers or the equipment they are using comes into contact with live, overhead power lines. Overhead power lines are especially dangerous to workers because they can carry extremely high voltage, exceeding 750,000 volts.
The CNN News report cited is “4 firefighters injured when Ice Bucket Challenge goes wrong.”