power linesOH&S Magazine shared a story a couple months ago about a painter who got second and third degree burns when his ladder touched some overheard power lines. We have had a couple posts about this, but the article was a great reminder of the importance of being aware of your surroundings when working on a ladder.

As the OSHA area director, Brian Sturtecky, said in the article, “The employer recognized the hazards associated with working near power lines but failed to take action to ensure workers were protected and equipped with the proper tools to perform the work safely. The employer’s inaction nearly resulted in a worker losing his life.”

Preventing Accidents with Power Lines

So, what should the painter have done?

The first thing is to be aware of his surroundings. Unfortunately, the worker came in contact with power lines while he was working, something that should have been easily avoided. If the worker had noticed the power lines, he could have either found a better ladder for the job or worked on a part of the job far away from the power lines.

The second thing the worker should have done is worked on the correct type of ladder. Any time there is a chance to work near power lines, workers should be using fiberglass ladders. As you know, fiberglass does not conduct electricity and is therefore much safer to work on.

Unfortunately, the worker didn’t follow either of these precautions, resulting in an accident and his untimely death. The accident also resulted in the company facing penalty from OSHA.