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News Release
Electric Contact Accidents Plummet in 2004
 
July 14, 2005 (2005 - 016)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR – Just nine people were injured in electric contact accidents in 2004 and there were no deaths according to an annual report by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Five required hospitalization and four were determined to be minor or non-injury.
 
"This is a very low number when you consider the 20-year average is 24 accidents each year," said PUC Senior Utility analyst Bob Sipler.
 
In 2003, 14 people were injured and six killed in accidents involving high voltage power lines. The six fatalities doubled the number of deaths reported in 2002.
Sipler added "There were no tree-related accidents last year. I believe this shows that accident prevention "bill stuffers" really do work and I think the lack of accidents is also due to consistent efforts by utilities to trim vegetation near power lines."
 
All, except for one of the accidents in 2004, were work related. The non-work related accident involved a father and son who were installing an antenna on the roof of their home. They lost control of the antenna and it fell over into a nearby power line. Both were hospitalized for two days.
 
The Commission safety staff notes that general safety education programs are preventing accidents. The staff advises students should receive power line safety education provided by utilities at least twice while in grade school.
 
The Commission is also encouraging utilities to focus safety programs toward homeowners, construction workers and agricultural workers.
 
The 2005 Utility Electric Contact Incident report is available electronically on the Oregon PUC Web site at www.puc.state.or.us (click on "safety").
 
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