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District 8 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
Info-Grams and Close Call Accidents

Close Call Graphic Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration

June 2000

Electrical Accident

On June 21, 2000, a potential fatal electrical accident occurred when an electrician contacted energized 12,470 volt conductors in a receptacle on a high voltage line switch. The injured was cleaning the receptacle with a brush in preparation for connecting the high-voltage cable. He held the brush in his right hand and had his left hand on the outer shell of the receptacle.When the brush contacted the energized conductors in the receptacle, he received an electrical shock resulting in burns to both hands. The vacuum circuit breaker in the line switch was closed even though a cable was not plugged into the receptacle. The ground monitor should have prevented the energized circuit, however, a normally closed contact in the shunt trip circuit was stuck in the open position preventing the vacuum circuit breaker from tripping.The line switch is equipped with a visual disconnect between the vacuum circuit breaker and the receptacle that opens and grounds the high-voltage conductors extending to the receptacle. Failure to disconnect and ground the high-voltage circuit before performing work resulted in the accident.
Output Receptacle
Switch Trip Indicator
  • Ensure that equipment is de-energized, grounded, and locked and tagged out before performing electrical work.
  • If it isn't grounded, it isn't dead.

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This information was provided by concerned miners in an effort to eliminate accidents. Accident or "close call" information within District 8 may be shared by contacting the MSHA office at (812) 882-7617.