Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Safety Flash: Dump truck operator fatally electrocuted by high-voltage line

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Case report: #18KY024*
Issued by: Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE)
Date of incident: June 22, 2018


On June 22, 2018, a 61-year-old dump truck owner-operator was transporting crushed rock to fill a sinkhole, when he raised the bed of the dump truck and contacted high voltage power lines, resulting in a rear tire catching fire. As the dump truck operator attempted to exit the vehicle, he stepped off the metal running board while holding onto the side of the truck, and was electrocuted.


Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:

• Lack of hazard awareness

• Exiting the vehicle while in contact with high voltage lines

• Fire

• Elevated terrain


The incident took place on a construction site on which a set of townhouses had recently been demolished. Because of the amount of debris and displaced soil, a pile of rubble measuring three feet in height was present. Due to the saturated ground and the weight of the vehicle, the victim would often drive his dump truck onto the pile of rubble while performing his responsibilities. With the buildup of debris and the truck bed extended the full 24 feet, the top of the truck bed measured 27 feet from the ground. The overhead power lines that the dump truck contacted measured 24’9” from the ground because of the buildup of debris.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Perform a hazard assessment before beginning work to be aware of the hazards in the immediate area.
  • Require drivers to have a spotter when working around electrical lines.
  • Have motor vehicles maintain a safe working distance from high-voltage lines.
  • Communicate to workers that when a vehicle contacts electrical power lines, best practice is for passengers to remain in the vehicle and call 911.

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