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1998

1998 Meetings
Delaware Bay Section

December 6, 1998
NIOSH Report on Deaths Due to Electrocution; and How This
Compares with the Experience of Delaware Bay Companies
Speakers: Danny Liggett, DuPont Engineering; Dave Young, Conectiv; Deborah McDaniel, ICI, Atlas Point; and Lanny Floyd, DuPont Engineering
Danny Liggett reviewed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report on findings as to causes of electrical death incidents over the period 1980 to 1994. Deaths due to electricity in occupational settings were the fifth leading cause of all occupational deaths at 7% of the total or about 411 deaths per year. This rate has shown a steady decrease over the period, and in the late 1990s was 50% of the rate in 1980. (Web access to this report is at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/elecmono.html). Analysis of the data showed the groups most at risk were:

  • Age 25-34: Discussion was that this group was most career motivated and therefore prone to take short cuts.
  • Industry: Construction.
  • Occupation: Lineman, laborer and electrician were all about the same rate.
  • Time of year: Peak month was August (outdoor work) with June/July and September close behind.
  • Degree of safety training: 80% had some, 16% had none, 35% had no access to safety training.
  • Other: 41% were less than one year on the job; in 53% of these cases, the supervisor was present; in 17% the victim was the supervisor.
Discussion by Dave Young, Deborah McDaniel, and Lanny Floyd brought out the following:
  • Safety awareness is now much improved in the contract force compared to five years ago due to corporate emphasis on safety. ICI requires that contract electricians show proof of training. There is a emphasis for everyone approaching a job to recognize levels of training, and to allow "back-off" from the job is training is inadequate.
  • Biggest problem is improper installations and equipment.
  • Plants are encouraged to form safety teams. Electrical safety programs are not just for electricians.
  • The future: Although 1998 will be the safest year yet, it is expected that, due to corporate downsizing, training will slip, and pressure to complete jobs will start to increase incidents. Also, it is feared that an incident spike will occur at Y2K time due to shortage of maintenance resources.