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Worker falls from ladder when gutter hits high-voltage line

Three workers were installing new roof gutters on a three-storey apartment building. Two of the workers were on the roof, and the third was on an extension ladder. The three workers were lifting a 56-foot section of gutter onto the roof. Because of the gutter's length, the top end protruded above the edge of the roof, while the lower end came to rest on the edge of the roof. As the worker on the ladder lifted the lower end of the gutter, the top end contacted the inboard conductor of a high-voltage circuit. On electrical contact, the worker on the ladder fell 22 feet onto a concrete patio. The worker later died of his injuries.


Findings as to causes

  • Worker 1 received fatal injuries when he fell from the ladder after the section of aluminum gutter he was holding came into contact with an electrical conductor located near the building he was working on.
Findings as to underlying factors
  • The high-voltage lines in the area were not discussed at the pre-job meeting as the employer had not identified them as a hazard. The crew developed a plan to avoid the low-voltage lines entering the building but did not recognize the high-voltage lines as an electrical hazard.
  • The length of the gutter made it necessary to extend it above the roof of the building to manoeuvre it onto the roof. This position of the gutter created a safety hazard.


Audio slideshow

Publication Date: May 2006 File type: PDF (212 KB) Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2006114550142