Contact with Electricity

An Underground crew was replacing two aging 4/0 – 5KV underground feeders at a utility owned station. The Crew went through their normal practice of going over a Job Plan and having a “tailboard conference”, with the crew and the Safety Watcher assigned to the project. Discussions were held about the job that was to be done, the setup, all hazards/barriers and that blocking would be placed on the energized exposed underground cables. Once the drill rods were pushed to the desired length, the two new conductors were attached to a reaming head by two kallum grips and a metal bridle. Once tension was applied, the two conductors made contact with an energized cable. The Safety Watcher stopped the work and told the backhoe operator to release the tension at which point the energized cable faulted to ground. During the pre-job meetings prior to the crew’s arrival, some details of the project were discussed; however detailed design drawings, clearances, limits of approach, and expectations between both crews were lacking. Job methods changed during the pull and weren’t communication to all work groups. Good communication must exist between all crews on a job site and all hazards of the job need to be identified before any work begins. The workers from the different work locations failed to discuss the need to change how the task was to be safely performed.