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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

September 2000

Power Line
Contact With

Truck Bed Contact Line Contact Area

A high-voltage electrical contact accident occurred recently at a District 8 surface mine. An over-the-road truck driver inadvertently dumped coal onto his tarp while attempting to load the truck. He then pulled his vehicle out of the loading facility and looked for a place to dump the coal which was on his tarp. A dozer operator working in the area told the truck driver to dump the coal on the North pile. The truck driver chose a road that he thought would take him to the North pile and backed down this road and raised the bed of his trailer into energized overhead 13,200 volt power lines. The power line was thirty feet above the roadway. The trailer bed can be raised to a height of 35 feet. The raised bed contacted the power line at the curved portion of the bed, or at a height of approximately 32 feet. The dozer operator who witnessed this attempted to warn the truck driver to remain in cab of truck until it could be verified that the power was off. The truck driver did not heed the warning and exited the truck. The relays of the high-voltage switch gear in the mine substation operated properly, which de-energized the affected overhead power line. This allowed the truck driver to exit the truck safely . No injuries occurred and the truck was not damaged.
  • Study the work site each time you move equipment, especially when operating equipment in areas used for storage, stockpiling, and look for any areas of low power line clearance.
  • If a truck contacts power lines, lower the bed to break contact with power line, if possible.
  • If any vehicle contacts a power line, stay in the vehicle, until it can be verified that the power is de-energized. Even when it appears that power is off, a utility company power line circuit will normally close three times to clear a fault. Electrocution could occur when exiting the vehicle !

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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.