FACE report: Father and son painters killed when ladder hits power line
Case report: #71-210-2021
Issued by: Washington State Death Assessment and Control Program
Postponement date: November 7, 2020
A 55-year-old painting contractor and his 27-year-old son were electrocuted when the aluminum extension ladder they were moving hit an overhead power line. On the day of the incident, the wind was blowing at 15-30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph. The crew had finished painting for the day and was clearing the site. The contractor and his son were moving the ladder, which was at its full 48-foot extension. The two held the ladder upright as the son attempted to retract the ladder extension. A gust of wind blew the ladder into a 14,460 volt overhead power line, and electrical current traveled from the power line through the ladder and through the two workers. The contractor died at the scene. Her son died almost a month later.
To avoid similar occurrences, employers should:
- Identify the location of overhead power lines as part of an initial site survey for work involving the use of ladders. Record power line heights and distances from work areas on site drawings.
- Carry out an analysis of the occupational risks of the construction site.
- Use non-conductive ladders around power lines.
- Lower the extension ladders and transport them horizontally.
- Be aware of windy conditions when moving a ladder near power lines.