Incident summary: Even though he’d recently attended a training session on lockout/tagout safety, a supervisor disregarded the training and reached into an electrical panel box that was still energized.
What happened: Two crew members who were operating a hazardous piece of equipment told their supervisor that the device wasn’t working properly.
The supervisor went to the work area and examined the equipment for a few minutes. Thinking that a relay needed to be reset, the 37-year-old boss walked over to the electrical panel box for the dangerous machine.
Even though he’d recently attended a training session on deenergizing hazardous equipment, the supervisor failed to lock out power to the electrical panel box.
As the supervisor was reaching into the box, he inadvertently contacted an energized circuit, and 480 volts of electricity coursed through his body. The man slumped to the ground.
Crew members raced over to assist their boss. They suspected that he was in cardiac arrest, so one of the employees began to administer CPR while the other man dialed 9-1-1.
Despite the best efforts of the workers, they were unable to save the supervisor. He was soon declared dead from a low-voltage electrocution.
Findings: Investigators pointed out that the victim – a married father of three – had received extensive training on lockout/tagout safety shortly before the fatal incident, but he failed to abide by the training and properly lock out the panel box before reaching into it.
In doing so, the supervisor not only exposed himself to a fatal hazard, but also sent a very wrong message about safety to his crew.
(From the March 28, 2022, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)