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Construction worker 'shaken' after equipment nears power line

September 9, 2013
Pine Island Eagle

A contractor working on a road project in northeast Cape Coral was shaken up but uninjured after the earth-moving equipment he was operating came close to high-voltage power lines Monday, causing an electrical arch.

Firefighters from Rescue 5 and Engine 5 along with Battalion Chief Brian Lauer responded to the 1700 block of Corbett Drive near the National Guard facility at 9:15 a.m. Crews arrived to find an excavator that had come in close proximity to overhead power lines while working on adding a turn lane on Corbett Drive, officials said, adding the equipment did not touch the lines.

According to Lauer, a significant electrical arc flash impacted the metal arm of the excavator, giving the male worker a jolt but no serious injuries. The surge conducted over to the metal arm of the excavator, officials said.

An arc flash is a short circuit through air that flashes over from an energized conductor to another conductor, producing intense heat and light.

The patient was conscious during the incident but was "shaken up pretty bad" according to Lauer. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation by Lee County EMS.

Corbett Drive was blocked off while representatives from the construction company and Lee County Electric Co-op investigated the scene.

Fact Box

Cape Coral Fire Department offers some safety tips for working around power lines:

Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outside work.

Be cautious on the roof. Working on a roof may put you close to an overhead power line. Avoid standing up and accidentally touching a line with your head or shoulder.

Be careful with ladders and other metal objects. When using an aluminum ladder, check above you for power lines. Aluminum is an exceptionally good conductor of electricity. If you touch a power line with an aluminum ladder, you could be seriously injured or killed. The same goes for antennas, metal gutters and other long metal objects. Take extra care to ensure that they don't inadvertently touch a power line.

Don't prune near power lines. Pruning trees around power lines should only be attempted by trained professionals. Serious injuries and even fatalities have occurred when untrained individuals do this work without the assistance of qualified professionals.

See something tangled in a power line? Stay clear. Never attempt to move an object (tree limb, kite, model airplane, etc.) from a power line yourself. Never climb the pole.

There was no sustained fire and no other injuries reported.

Source: Cape Coral Fire Department



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