Paramedics tend to a worker who was badly burned at a construction site in Chilliwack on Sept. 7. (Greg Knill photo)

WorkSafe investigator calls for crane inspection after electrical accident

Worker severely burned when contact made between power lines and iron load

WorkSafe BC has completed its inspection of a workplace accident that left one worker severely burned in Chilliwack.

The incident took place at a construction site on the morning of Sept. 7 on Luckakuck Way, and involved the movement of angle iron by a crane.

WorkSafe BC says the Surrey company Mega Cranes Ltd. was using a hydraulic crane truck to lift a 40’4” long piece of 4” by 4” angle iron, when the load contacted unguarded, 25,000 volt overhead powerlines. By the burn marks on the load and the electrical breakers being “tripped,” a WorkSafe investigator determined that the minimum clearance distance of three metres that’s required was not maintained.

That action was in contravention of Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Section 19.24.1

The report states that the company must oversee an inspection of the crane’s critical components, to be recertified by a professional engineer before it can be returned to service. The model involved was a Terex T340XL.

The report does not include any additional orders, or mention any administrative penalities at this point.

The Progress has not recieved an update on the condition of the worker, who was airlifted and treated in hospital for severe electrical burns. At the scene, witnesses said the crane was lifting a large metal bar at the tilt-up building site when the boom began to swing wildly. The bar then reportedly hit the wire, sending out a huge shower of sparks. They heard what sounded like a large explosion, then a man yelling.

WorkSafeBC has guidelines for minimum approach distances, provided in lengthy detail on their website. They also have a video on their website about the dangers of power arcs, called A Bright Arc: Minimum Safe Distances.

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