What is in this article?:
- The Case of the Concrete Cutting Catastrophe
- Sidebar: Best Practices for Safe Cutting Procedures
Worker is left with debilitating injury after his saw severs energized electrical conduit buried under concrete floor.
Sidebar: Best Practices for Safe Cutting Procedures
The Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA), the leading trade group representing concrete sawing and drilling companies, offers many safety and construction training courses/documents. It has also worked directly with OSHA to produce a best practices document regarding electrical safety. CSDA-OBP-1004, issued in 2010, lists a variety of electrical safety concerns, involving both underground electrical services and the electrical components of the saw itself. Below are a few items of significance from its best practices document that relate to this case.
Electricity is widely recognized as a potential workplace hazard, exposing employees to electric shock, burns, fires, and explosions. Working on or around electrical conductors and equipment can be particularly dangerous, because electrical energy often cannot be sensed until contact is made. Apply the following guidelines to maximize safety:
1. On a daily basis, before starting any task, inspect the work area for possible electrical hazards. Take all necessary precautions to avoid cutting into electrical lines. In work areas where the exact location of the electrical power is unknown, power in the general vicinity of the building should be de-energized.
2. Operators should wear ASTM F 1117 dielectric boots and ASTM D 120 rubber insulating gloves. Leather protector gloves that meet ASTM F 696 should be worn over insulating gloves to prevent damage. Instruct each employee on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions that apply to the work areas.