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News Release
Electricity-Related Accidents Decline Slightly in 2006 According To PUC Report
September 14, 2007 (2007-013)

Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, Oregon - The number of people injured after being shocked by power lines declined slightly in 2006 compared with the year before. Additionally, none were killed according to an annual report prepared by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
Of the 13 people who were injured, most were work-related. That is in keeping with historical trends since 1997.  Eight had to go to the hospital, five were considered minor injuries.  Power line accidents injured 14 people in 2005.
In 2006, six workers, including four firemen, were injured in incidents where they raised ladders or boom equipment into overhead high voltage lines. Also, two tree trimmers were injured while trimming or clearing vegetation near overhead power lines.  “These incidents could have been easily avoided by ‘looking up’ and paying closer attention to overhead power lines before starting work near them, Commission Senior Safety Analyst Jerry Murray said.  “I’d recommend before doing any work outside, make sure that you are aware of the overhead and underground facilities around you and you’ll be much better off.”
Also, in 2006 there were two injuries that required hospitalization from dig-ins into underground high voltage lines.  Commission safety analysts says these incidents could have been avoided if the people had called the Oregon Utility Notification Center at 800-332-2344 at least two business days in advance of work, waited for the site to be marked by utilities, and dug with care around utility facilities. 
The Commission’s safety staff notes that general safety education programs are preventing accidents and suggests all students in Oregon should receive power line safety education overviews provided by utilities at least twice while in grade school.
The purpose of the report is to prevent accidents by providing basic information about how people have been injured so utility companies, construction and safety organizations can target their safety education efforts.
The Oregon PUC watches over electric power line safety throughout the State.  The Commission’s Safety Staff enforces the National Electrical Safety Code, which is required by State law, over all of Oregon’s 40 electrical utilities.  These utilities include investor-owned, municipal, cooperatives and peoples’ utility districts.  The OPUC performs routine inspections and audits of electric utility programs to ensure that electric utilities are following the safety code and keeping the public safe.  The OPUC uses accident statistics in targeting safety trends that need more focus by the utility industry and the public. 
The 2006 Utility Electric Contact Incident report is available on the Oregon PUC Website at: 
http://www.puc.state.or.us/PUC/safety/07contac.pdf (Link is no longer valid)