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News Release
 
Electrical Accidents Fall Significantly in 2009
 
July 23, 2010 (2010-016)
 
Contacts:  Ray Baum, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Susan Ackerman, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR. The number of people injured after coming into contact with high voltage power lines dropped significantly in Oregon in 2009 compared with 2008 according to an annual report released today by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
 
Commission Safety staff think the decline is due to the economy and reduced construction activity throughout the state. “This really is a notable drop compared with the last four years. One explanation seems to be that as construction has slowed down and so has the chance of workers being electrocuted on the job,” 
Commission Senior Electrical Engineer Jerry Murray said. “And, so far we are on track for another low year with just one reported accident to date.”
 
  • 2009 7 injuries
  • 2008 15 injuries
  • 2007 17 injuries
  • 2006 13 injuries
  • 2005 14 injuries
 
Examples of accidents in 2009:
 
  • An unauthorized person climbed a substation fence and received injuries after touching a high-voltage conductor on a circuit breaker.
  • Two people were hurt when an overhead conductor separated and fell to the ground hitting them.
  • Another individual was hurt when he broke into an electric switch cabinet while attempting to steal copper and was shocked.
  • A property owner using a forklift while trimming trees came into contact with a high voltage line.
  • And a landscape tree trimmer and a utility tree trimmer were injured in separate accidents when they came into contact with overhead high voltage power lines.
 
“I can’t stress this enough to make sure that you are aware of the overhead and underground power lines around you when working at home or on the job and try to stay at least 10 feet away from overhead high voltage lines,” said Murray.
 
Before doing any excavation work, you should call the Oregon Utility Notification Center at 811 at least two business days before the scheduled work, and wait for the site to be marked by utility company personnel
 
The Oregon PUC monitors electric power line safety throughout the state.  The Commission enforces the National Electrical Safety Code that all of Oregon’s 39 electrical utilities must follow.  The OPUC performs routine inspections and audits of electric utility programs to ensure that electric utilities are following the safety code and keeping workers and the public safe. 
 
Link to report.
 
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