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utlity worker repairing power line

OSHA Issues Fine in Electrocution Incident

July 31, 2017
An incident involving workers and power lines underscores the importance of treating all power sources as if they were live.

One worker was killed and another injured when one of them came into contact with a downed power line in Tyler, Tex.

Contractors Wesley Ray Cain and Billy Titsworth were making early-morning repairs to a damaged Oncor utility pole when one of them came into contact with a live wire on Feb. 17. According to police reports, that worker then made contact with the other worker, transferring the shock to him as well.

The pole was damaged when it was struck by a vehicle. Cain and Titsworth were dispatched to repair it. At approximately 5:20 a.m., they were electrocuted.

Cain was pronounced dead at a local hospital, but Titsworth survived. The men were employed by Willbros T&D Services. OSHA investigated the incident and issued one serious violation, with a penalty of $12,673, to Oncor. The company is contesting the citation.

Oncor spokesperson Charles Hill said at the time that contractors are trained to approach every power line like it’s live.

Oncor released a statement at the time of the incident that said, in part: “This incident underscores the importance of safety around power lines and electrical equipment. If you see a downed line, stay away and call 9-1-1 immediately.”

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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