Electrical Contact

A crew was installing a new 40 ft pole, and in-line anchor replacing a 30ft pole to accommodate the addition of a system neutral. While installing the new anchor, the helix broke off when it contacted something hard in the ground. The Operator lifted the anchor assembly out of the existing hole with the digger boom to where his co-worker grabbed the assembly. This was done to protect from an uncontrolled swing.

The Operator then released the “locks” on the anchor wrench (which releases the anchor rod from the drive bar to install a new helix). While holding the anchor rod in his right hand, the co-worker called for another worker to bring an adjustable wrench so he could remove the broken piece of the helix. At this point the Operator, focusing on his co-worker, raised the boom of the digger to improve the working height for the co-worker while he changed the helix. This is when the boom contacted the energized line. The limits of approach were maintained while setting the auger in place and initially setting the anchor. However, the crew failed to maintain their limits of approach while attempting to replace the broken helix. The crew needed to maintain 10ft of clearance to the energized line with the uninsulated boom of the digger. No Safety Watcher was provided for while operating the digger within limits of approach.