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  1. Default accident investigation

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    Like to hear some thoughts on this! Especially Rusty's!! Again expierence and training apparently lacking but all the "guy's" fault! What a pile of Bull@#$%!!

    Broken Rules Cited In Death

    The Ledger

    LAKELAND -- A report on the accident that killed Lakeland Electric worker Marc Moore on Aug. 26 has found numerous failures to follow standard safety rules by a crew installing a utility pole.

    Part of a crane, most likely the winch cable weight, hit a live electric line, and between 450 and 560 volts arced to the wet ground where Moore and other workers were standing.

    The report, which was recently released by city officials, was prepared for Lakeland Electric by J. B. Shepherd and Associates of Windermere, a private consulting firm comprised of electrical engineers and former utility supervisors.

    "The employees interviewed all understand that these rules were not followed," the report said. "Some were aware of the rules before the incident; others were not . . .

    "They apparently shared a common (erroneous) belief that the rubber gloves they were wearing would protect them from injury if the crane contacted the energized conductors. The experienced employees displayed a cavalier attitude regarding setting a pole in proximity to energized conductors."

    Moore, 31, a special-equipment operator, was working with a four-man crew setting a 1,470pound, 40-foot utility pole in a pre-dug hole near an existing 35foot pole in the rear of Citrus Woods Mobile Home Park, 1610 Reynolds Road.

    Another four-man line crew was preparing to leave the site after installing some insulated wiring for the pole crew when the accident took place. Two other utility workers were also at the scene.

    Investigators interviewed eight workers, including seven eyewitnesses.

    One of them was Lakeland Electric lineman Steve Doyle, who told investigators he knew something was terribly wrong.

    "I was walking toward the truck when I heard someone yell `stop.' I turned and saw a fire like I have never seen before," said Doyle, Moore's cousin. "Fire was coming off the fence and the rig, and the cable TV wires were smoking . . ."

    Moore was killed when he tried to run away from being shocked, but tripped over the legs attached to the crane to keep it stable and fell to the wet, energized ground. Although the sky was sunny, the ground was wet from rain earlier in the day.

    Four other workers felt shocks in their feet and were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for observation.

    The report determined that the pole crew disregarded safety policies and a warning from a fellow worker. The deficiencies cited include:

    Lack of a job briefing prior to doing the job to discuss what was supposed to take place. Both national and Lakeland Electric policy calls for such a meeting.

    Ignoring a Lakeland Electric policy dictating that a crew member is supposed to stand away from the crane with a better angle to see that the crane doesn't hit any wiring. This crew member is supposed to direct the crane operator with hand signals. That didn't happen.

    The crane wasn't grounded, but that is not required by Lakeland Electric or national policy.

    The live line wasn't covered with the temporary insulation, and some parts of it were covered with a material not intended to be used for the job. One employee told investigators it was more dangerous to cover a live wire with insulation than it was to work near a live wire.

    Willy Pinkston, a lineman, warned the pole-setting crew that the crane should be moved because it was in a position where it couldn't clear the primary electrical line, but the crew didn't listen.

    Eddy Johnson, an operations supervisor, told investigators that the failure to move the crane farther from the live wire "was stupidity."

    Lakeland Electric policy requires that equipment be no closer than two feet from an energized line.

    The report also said that at least one other time a pole had come in contact with an energized wire, but there were no injuries or outage, and no report was made.

    The report said: "Training and supervision are important to assure that employees understand the reasons behind the rules and develop a respect for them. Reporting of 'near misses' has proved to be a valuable tool."

    In addition, Mark Black, the operator of the EZ Hauler model 2500 crane used to set the utility pole, had little experience with that piece of equipment. The rest of the crew had little or no experience with that crane, as well.

    Black told investigators he had only set one other 40-foot pole with the EZ Hauler, and said when he gets close to a primary electric line "I take a deep breath and hold it."

    He said he moved the boom as high as it would go.

    Black said that when someone yelled "It's shocking me, Mark!" that he lowered the boom into the conductor in an effort to "make hard contact and blow a fuse."

    This caused the voltage coming downward to increase, the report said.

    But investigators took issue with some of Black's comments. They concluded that Black may not have had the boom in its highest position at the time of contact. They also concluded that Black's contention that he tried to blow a circuit was false, that he more likely pushed buttons randomly "in a panic reaction."

    Lakeland Electric supervisors, who face the potential of a lawsuit by Moore's widow, were not eager to discuss the investigative report.

    "The report speaks for itself," Bob Rodi, the director of energy delivery, said in an interview.

    Lakeland Electric stopped using foremen on such jobs three or four months ago, Rodi said, and now use lead workers, who both work on the job and supervise. Foremen were supervisors who directed others but didn't work alongside them.

    Rodi said he would not comment on some of the particulars of the report.

    He said that in March the utility began a comprehensive review of its practices and procedures, and said some steps have been taken as a result of the continuing review, not the fatal accident.

    "Some of the changes are under way," Rodi said. "Insulated shoes are being worn," and other changes are forthcoming.

    Only one man on the pole-setting crew, Black, was wearing insulated shoes when the accident occurred. He told investigators he wore them not for safety, but because his boots were "old and leaky."

    "Whenever there's a horrific accident, we have to look at many aspects of the safety process," Rodi said. "In March, we started a comprehensive review that covers all the different aspects of trying to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

    "In any of these accidents, there are going to be three or four steps, like talking over the job before you do it, that need to be done. We're trying to learn from a tragedy so that people can accept the changes that have to be made."

    The city is spending $45,000 for a comprehensive utility safety audit, which was approved in September and is being conducted by Mr. Electrical Safety, a private consulting company.

    City Attorney Tim McCausland said Friday that the hiring of the safety consultant was "part and parcel" to changes being made following Moore's death.

    Lakeland Electric General Manager Keith Hulbert said he didn't want to comment on the particulars of the accident "because those are the things that are being revisited with our employees."

    "This has been a tragic accident, and we have been in the process of making sure the operational and safety practices for our line of work will reflect some of the best in the Southeast," Hulbert said.

    "What our people do is dangerous work."

    Rick Rousos can be reached at or 863-802-7516.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Northern Michigan


    I don't read anything about cover-up on conductors or the pole. I don't read anything about truck grounds. All our people would have rubber booties on while setting a pole in line hot.

  3. Default accident

    I sent that reporter guy a pice of my mind.

  4. Default Marc Moore accident investigation

    This accident rings a bell. I investigated a very similar accident in which the victim struck a 27.6/16 kv. line and lost a couple of toes.
    To begin with an engineer layed out the job. Since he was a civil engineer so he had somewhat of an excuse for determining that the pole should be set directly beneath the existing circuit. I still say he shared some fault by not being realistic.
    In this accident the layout must have have been done by the operating authorities engineer he had to have been an electrical engineer.
    That day he must have had his head in his rear-end. He MUST share some blame.
    The report said that the operating authority sent out a lineman or perhaps he justed stopped to kill time (Steve Doyle)and he realized something was terribly wrong (his words). What the hell was he thinking, "I'll just watch these guys kill themselves". He never did his job.
    It seems that he was one of the most aware people on site and he just stood by and watched. I hope he can sleep at night.
    Investigators interviewed seven eyewitnesses. I guess Steve wasn't the only one who was tongue tied that day.
    So much for watching out for your buddy!
    Marc Moore was a heavy equipment operator so it's obvious that he was working in an area that he wasn't trained for. In addition the truck would surely be using steel winch cable. That's a sure fire way to energize the truck. Why did the operating authorty permit such an ill-equipped assembly of workers with NO ELECTRICAL KNOWLEDGE work on or near powerlines while they were energized? The investigators will comment that the truck wasn't grounded.
    I doubt that that truck ever needed grounds before and the workers wouldn't even know how to use them nor would they have ever gotten permission to apply them to the system neutral.
    The question is, did the operating authority even look at this truck to approve it's use on their system? If they approved it then they share blame. If they didn't check it out for approval, shame on them.
    What kind of an approval system does this utility have for approving contractors? None I suspect, if they have one it wasn't followed. Obviously not.
    If the operating authority had a comprehensive contractor approval system, no one at the job site could say they didn't know the company rules. That's a hole big enough to drive a Hummer through.
    Willy Pinkston, a lineman says he tried to stop them.
    How? It makes me think of Red Skelton when he was riding his horse he'd say. "whoa horse, awh come on horse, whoa". Speak up man! Be a leader.
    That crew should have had coverup on the conductor but they could't do it themselves. The operating authority is responsibile to ensure that it was there. Why didn't they apply it?
    As for those booties, they give the wearer a false sense of security.
    If a blade of grass is higher that the bootie the current will by-pass the rubber with they same effect as if the wearer were bare foot. Furthermore if there is a nail or a cut in them they are also rendered useless.
    What is all of this about 2 feet clearance. That's for an authorized worker (a lineman), not for the general public. These guys don't seem to have a linemen on site and they didn't seem to have a bucket truck.
    If so their minimum distance 10 feet across the board, no less. They MUST have a dedicated safety watcher (knowledgeable in the electrical trade) to encroach any closer to the covered conductor.
    It's interesting that Eddy Johnson, an operators supervisor got so smart after the accident and saw the "stupidity".
    Where was he when he was needed?
    Oh, those Monday morning quarterbacks are so useful aren't they?
    Don't blame the poor victim. There are a lot of culprits who just stood by with their finger in their ass and watched this accident manifest.
    The Old Lineman

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Florida in the winter Canada in the summer.


    It sounds to me like this accident should have been investigated by an impartial party that actually Knows our work!! The Minimum Approach Distance was violated and the crane was not grounded! I have seen City of Lakeland lineman work before and they all need to be given training from the company. But then again Supervision at Lakeland is ignorant to this industry as well. That is one of the problems faced when OSHA has NO jurisdiction!! This is not the first time one of the cousins got hurt in this area of Florida.

  6. #6
    Lnemn's Mom Guest


    Just my two cents worth, for "what its worth" is that the companies should stop saying the employee is at fault, when, if the employee hasn't had the proper training to realize what he is being asked to do is not safe, its not his fault. The older guys with experience are more inclined to tell them when they spot unsafe working conditions to "shove it where the sun don't shine". Which personally, I'd do in a heartbeat! I'm old enough that I don't care anymore, the old saying, 'I was lookin' for a job when I found this one', suits me just fine! I'd rather have our guys alive and coming home every evening to their families than to lose one because some half-wit who knows nothing about the dangers of line work thinks they have all the answers. Just because "something looks good on paper" doesn't mean that it actually can be applied to the job. Let the engineers, and anyone who has the duty to investigate power industry accidents have actual experience in field. Then, and only then, will true accidents be called that. And when one of our boys are put in a position because "they just don't know any better" are hurt or killed on the job, the person doing the investigation knows exactly what he is looking at. We need to push OSHA to hire "retired" linemen to do the accident investigations. That's the only way we know a spade will be called a spade.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bull Dog View Post
    I sent that reporter guy a pice of my mind.
    You know Bull Dog I believe that you are directing your distaste for this report at the wrong person.
    Rick Rousos is a reporter and doesn't know dick about our business.
    I have looked into this matter a little further and the investigation was done by a reputable firm (on the surface).
    Only after reading the original report in it's entirety would I be able to determine whether the report was factual, believeable and plausible.
    You should know that the reporter will take a lengthy report and whittle it down for a newspaper. I think too many facts where missed to make it a viable article for discussion.
    What is most disturbing is that the victim is again blamed for doing things that led to his own death.
    The accident was caused by the boom getting into the power line, not by Marc Moore running for the hills.
    Too many qualified linmen just stood there and watched this accident occur. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if your setting a pole directly beneath an existing energized circuit an accident has to happen. I don't care whether the winch line is synthetic or steel. You just can't do that and get away with it.
    As long as these companies can point fingers at the victim and everyone else is too ignorant about what's going on to smell a rat this type of thing will go on and on and on.
    It's sad when the company says it was the victim's fault and everyone goes home happy. These companies will continue to do this as long as it works and it's pretty obvious that it does. So expect more.
    Look at the comments of the superiors and get pissed off at them. They are the ones who let this happen, not a poor old reporter trying to squeeze a report into his newspaper after the fact.
    He had NO blame in this mess.
    The Old Lineman

  8. #8

    Default Placing the blame

    Old Lineman, I agree with you. The reporter had less of a clue as to what actually happened, and what the proper procedures should be for a hot set, than even the OSHA investigators have. From piecing together what information was in the article, it sounds like the crew had almost no experience with the job they were attempting to do. Especially the part about it "being more dangerous to apply cover-up to the primary"??? Whoever was supposed to be overseeing this job definitely dropped the ball, whether they didn't care, weren't paying attention, or just didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. My guess would be the last reason, as anyone with any experience would have seen the writing on the wall on this!!! If the person in charge really was that clueless, upper management is at least as much at fault for putting such unqualified people in a position of authority. It's bad enough when someone gets hurt or killed when attempts are made to do a job safely, but it really sucks to hear about stupid accidents like this.

  9. #9

    Exclamation Rubber Boots

    Quote Originally Posted by duckhunter View Post
    I don't read anything about cover-up on conductors or the pole. I don't read anything about truck grounds. All our people would have rubber booties on while setting a pole in line hot.
    I agree about grounding the equipment, but the rubber boots don't carry much merit for me. They are a false sense of security, are not tested as personal protective equipment such as gloves, sleeves, blankets, etc. are. As was mentioned above, anything making contact with you above the booties WILL carry primary voltage to ground, you have no way of knowing if they have pinholes, and are NOT rated for primary voltage protection. Would you knowingly stand on your rubber gloves or insulating blankets? Sorry if I sound harsh, but I've seen too many 17 hands putting a lot of faith in their boots' supposed insulating properties. The same holds true for my opinion of the rubber guards you are supposed to wear on your climbers - you have a metal gaff buried in the wood, and a lot of the metal of your climbers is exposed - pay attention to your surroundings, don't expect an untested rubber tube to protect you. You may get lucky with having them on, but why take a chance?

  10. #10
    rusty Guest


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    Brothers and Sisters,

    Many have covered the issue really well! While everybody knows I am a strong advocate for training and proper and knowledgeable supervision, IT DOESN'T MEAN SQUAT IF "" BY COMPANY DAILY ACCEPTED WORK ETHICS "" IT ISN"T FOLLOWED OR USED PROPERLY!
    IMPO, I see liability in MANY AREAS with this one, but unfortunately the standard excuse and reason to deny liability, ONCE ANGAIN PREVAILED! That being the catch all of failure to follow company policy, and the lack of knowledgeable and impartial investigation! Which IN EVERY CASE "" WRONGFULLY "" LEADS TO THE CLAIM OF EMPLOYEE ERROR!!!

    There is PLENTY of blame to go around on this one! But that does little good for the Brother we lost, or his love ones left behind! I would ask EVERY Brother working in this trade today, to pay close attention to the paper trail of documentation of your training! You can BET it will come back against you later. And with that knowledge, when you are given a task that goes against your documented training, DON'T DO IT! At the very least if pressured to go ahead, YOU document EVERYTHING , EVERY TIME YOUR ASK TO , names , dates, those present, the task and violation AND WHO KNEW IT , EVERYTHING!!! What this does is give those seeking justice for you or your loved ones the evidence needed to deny the company this BS excuse and defense! If a company can use failure to follow company policy as a way to escape liability, YOU HAVE THE SAME RIGHT to hold them accountable for creating a work environment that WILLFULLY VIOLATES THE SAME STANDARD WHEN IT SUITES THEIR PUPOSE! FACT!!!

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