Worker Dies Following Low Voltage Shock

July 16, 2004
Daniel Anderson, a construction worker from Barnesville, Ohio, was electrocuted July 12 when he handled a low-voltage electrical wire while wearing muddy boots, the Butler (Ohio) County coroner has ruled.

During an autopsy, Dr. Richard P. Burkhardt found an electrical burn on Anderson's arm and broken blood vessels in his feet, both signs of electrocution. According to Burkhardt, the current from the 110-voltage wire, which Anderson apparently thought was a harmless cable wire, went through Anderson's left arm to his feet.

Another worker knocked the wire down with a forklift. When Anderson picked up the wire, he was shocked.

"It's not the voltage that kills you; it's the amperage and the voltage together that make for a dangerous condition," Burkhardt told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "You can get killed with 50 volts if the amperage is high enough."

According to Burkhardt, voltage is how strongly the electricity is pushed through an electrical line and amperage is the amount of electricity that is flowing through the line.

OSHA is investigating the incident, and has cited Anderson's employer, Mid-Ohio Pipeline Co. Inc., with three serious violations of occupational safety and health regulations since 2002. A serious violation is issued when when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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