Joint Safety Committee - Western Ohio Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 82 

Lessons Learned

Type of  Incident Description Lessons Learned

An employee was lifting the lid of a gang box and caught their left middle finger in the hinge of the dual fold gang box lid.

  • Be aware of all hazards.

  • The employee had improper hand placement and should have used the handle.


The employee slipped from the second rung of a ladder and struck his face on a J hook on a drill that he was holding.

  • Use 3 point contact on ladders; don’t climb with tools in your hand.

  • Wear proper boots. The tread was worn off the employee’s boots.

  • Job placement for inexperienced employees. Make sure employees have the proper training to complete a job.


The employee was carrying a cordless/battery operated band saw down a step ladder. He lost his balance and went to correct it. He was carrying the band saw in his right hand and it made contact with his left hand.

  • Maintain 3 point contact on ladders.

  • Use a hand line to pull up tools to elevated areas once in place and secure.

  • Use proper tool to complete the task.


Employee caught his arm on a piece of metal stud leaning on top of the handle of a pallet jack outside an electrical room.

  • Proper storage of materials is critical, keeping them from walkways.

  • Protect against sharp edges.


While drilling a metal stud to install ½” EMT, the saw caught and spun the drill, causing strain on the employees wrists. The hole saw was missing teeth.

  • Better knowledge of the proper use of tools.

  • Make sure there is a handle on the drill and drill slowly.

  • Use hole saws in good condition.


While removing a Knock Out from a four square box, the employee hit the side of the box with their hand and cut it.

  • Wear appropriate PPE; heavier gloves.

  • Be careful. Slow down and take your time.


While cleaning up a jobsite and throwing metal scraps in a dumpster, the employee cut their finger and it later became infected.

  • Proper PPE; heavier gloves should be issued for this type of work.

  • Stop and wash out any wound and dress it immediately.

Shock/Arc Flash

The worker had installed can lights the day prior. That night they were energized. When the employee went to work the next day, he was instructed that his whips were too long and he needed to dress them up. He went back to shorten them to dress out better, but when he cut the whip it was hot. It shocked his arm. He was not sent for observation. If the shock had gone across his chest or to both hands, he would have been sent for observation.

  • During the morning huddle, the employees should have been notified that the area had been energized.

  • Better communication.

  • Should have used a tick tester.

Strain/Sprain/Fracture The employee was working under a ceiling grid and as the scissor lift ascended, he ducked and the lift suddenly stopped, making him lose his balance. He was in a squatting position and was in a tight area as there were supplies on the lift. He twisted at an awkward angle and felt his knee give way.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and don’t overload your lift.

  • Prep your body position.

  • Stretch and flex before each shift.

Strain/Sprain/Fracture In 2013, an employee was working extensive hours, 7 days a week, 10-14 hours per day, for the prior two years. His foot became sore and he took off several days. The pain became severe. He went to the ER and tests showed a fracture of the 5th metatarsal. He was placed off work and walked with a limp.  An ankle replacement was necessary.
  • Report any injury or pain immediately.

  • Do not work through injuries.


While cutting a ¾” conduit with a band saw, the employee cut his finger and had 5 stitches.

  • Always use tools correctly….get training on any tool before using.

  • Use a different tool….snips or a hack saw?

  • Wear cut resistant gloves.

  • Secure the material to be cut….get assistance.


An employee stepped blindly into an aisle and his foot was run over by a fork lift. The employee suffered broken bones in his foot. Medical care was rendered

  • Pay close attention to your surroundings.

  • Slow down.

  • Use designated walkways.


The employee cut his fingers with a razor knife while cutting through a wire held in his hand. First aid was given at the jobsite.

  • Lay the wire on a surface before cutting.

  • Cut away from yourself.

  • Wear gloves.

  • Use a stripping tool or a retractable knife.


Miscommunication on a circuit and the employee cut into a hot lighting circuit. This resulted in a small blast, resulting in a burn on his hand. Medical care at Urgent Care.

  • Always test a circuit first to see if it is hot.
  • Better communication.
  • Wear gloves.

The employee was waiting outside for gear to be delivered. The employee turned to step off the pad and their heel hooked on the pad. The employee slipped and tore their Achilles tendon. It was raining, so the area was wet.

  • Use more caution.
  • Be aware of your body position.
  • Wear proper boots.
  • Stretch and flex!
Silica Exposure

A concrete company was dry cutting concrete which created a large dust cloud that encompassed the work area. The exposure was inside and lasted 15-20 minutes. The electricians working in the area asked the concrete company to cease the dry cut and implement a wet cut and the company complied.

  • Always use a wet saw when cutting inside to eliminate the dust.

  • Job scheduling should be reviewed to coordinate with all the trades.

  • Respiratory protection should be available.

  • The employees are commended for speaking up to stop the unsafe condition.

Trip / Fall

While running from an explosion on a job site, an employee fell and injured his leg. Another contractor was testing a newly installed air line and did not employ lockout/tagout. They assumed the line was not pressurized when the end cap was removed, resulting in an explosion (that sounded like a cannon). The explosion kicked up a dust cloud 30 ft. wide and 50 ft. tall and shut down the shop because of debris in the air. Workers in the area ran away from the explosion and one employee fell and injured his leg. Co-workers assisted in helping the employee out of the area.

  • The contractor was sent to lockout/tagout training.

  • Job communication and scheduling of the various trades should be reviewed. This testing should have taken place in off hours.

Back Strain While pulling wire on an extremely heavy wire pull and under extreme wire pressure the worker felt his back tighten and then let go in the lower muscles.
  • More manpower needed. If you need help, ask for it.

  • Be aware of your body position while working. Know your limits.

  • Put a tugger on the wire and let the machinery do the work.

  • Incorporate warm up and stretching exercises on the job site, every morning and after lunch.

Toxins Inhalation

Coal dust inhalation. Worker requested a mask and none were available so the property owner issued an incorrect paper style mask which became clogged quickly. The worker wore this for two days and inhaled around the mask.

  • Pre-site planning. Must have respirators if the job site requires them.

  • The owner/facility should have training for specific job site hazards. And the Contractor should have a program in place to protect their workers.


While pulling wires around a constant hot wire in junction boxes of an existing circuit, the worker stripped the wrong wire and was shocked.

  • Once lockout is performed, the worker must test to verify that the lockout is tagged correctly and a wire is not mismarked.

  • Use proper testing procedures.


A workers foot began to hurt and ache while working and the pain increased over time. The worker had a fracture of the 5th metatarsal from stress.

  • Pay attention to signs and symptoms of the body.

  • Watch the amount of work being performed. Stop and change your body position.


Worker cut left index finger while cutting conduit with a bandsaw. His glove was caught in the bandsaw and it pulled his hand into the blade.

  • The worker should have had two hands on the saw, and secured the piece of material being cut.

  • Use cut resistant gloves.

  • Use appropriate equipment for the job, like a hacksaw or snips.


While bending conduit (1”) the weld located on the collar failed, allowing the pipe handle to strike the employee in the nose resulting in 15 stitches and a fracture.

  • Check all equipment carefully.

  • Don’t use equipment that has modifications.


While pulling 600 mcmil wire into a jbox, the employee stopped to get a knot out of the rope. While pulling really hard, the wire hit the employee in the face resulting in a cut and a black eye.

  • Make sure to wear proper PPE…Safety Glasses.

  • Be aware of your body position while working.

Back Sprain

While lifting a drill overhead repeatedly while working to put whips on fixtures for LED lights, the employee strained their lower back. The employee was using a step ladder.

  • It is important to be in good physical condition.

  • Always use the correct equipment while working. The employee possibly should have used a taller ladder.

  • Always be aware of your body position to avoid strain.


While cutting duc coating off a duc coated box with a razor knife (pulling the knife toward himself) the knife slipped and cut the employee’s arm, requiring four stitches.

  • Never cut toward yourself.

  • Use different equipment. There is a new automated retractable razor knife where the blade retracts when the knife is lifted and there is no pressure on the tool.

Crushed Thumb

While bending a 31/2” conduit on a hydraulic bender, the employee was assembling the 50 lb. slide bar part of the bender and their left thumb was pinched.

  • Always be aware of pinch hazards.

  • If a job is a two-person job, enlist the help of a co-worker.

Twisted Knee

An employee was squatting in a lift and as it was going up, had to duck under a grid which was overhead. When he hit the cut off button, the lift jerked causing the employee to shift all his weight to his left knee, bending and twisting in an awkward angle.

  • Additional training on the lift is required.

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when moving in a lift of any kind.


While operating a lift with a joy stick, the employee’s left hand was on the railing and instead of the boom moving forward, it moved left, smashing his finger into the steel.  The injury required six stitches.

  • Additional training. Ensure training is specific to the equipment in operation.

  • A spotter should be available to advise the operator of any hazards.


Employee lost footing on outside steps and fell. His hand was in his pocket so when falling, he hit his elbow and back shoulder on the stairs and fractured three vertebrae in the lumbar area of his back.

  • Do not walk down stairs with your hands in your pockets. They should be on the rail.

  • Always assess weather hazards when working outside.

Chest Pain

Employee experienced chest pains and trouble breathing. He was taken by ambulance to Upper Valley Medical Center and underwent tests. It was determined that there were no problems.

  • Having co-workers with basic First Aid experience allows them to know when to call 911 if a co-worker is suffering chest pains.


The wrong breaker was locked out. The circuit was reenergized while being worked on. Worker was shocked and stayed on the job until a later date then went to be checked out.

  • Follow LOTO. Verify that the circuit is the correct one. Test it!

  • Have a plan.

  • Communicate

  • If insured, go to the doctor to get checked out.


An employee was using a hole saw and it hung up on a metal plate causing the employee to lose control. The drill spun and cut the employees hand.

  • Review proper use of electric drill motors, following all safety procedures.

  • Secure what you are cutting.

  • Always take your time.

Acid Burn 

Acid fell from an overhead pipe and burned an employee on the cheek and arm.

  • It is imperative that employees are aware of any hazards in the work area.

  • It is the responsibility of the facility supervisor and the job supervisor to inform all workers of potential hazards on a job site.


While carrying a ladder into a work area, the employee tripped over a piece of scrap pipe left  behind by plumbers working in the area earlier.

  • Good housekeeping is essential on a job site. Always police your work area at the end of the day.

  • Always assess the hazards in a work area, especially when working with other crafts in tight quarters.

Fall A worker fell down eight stairs and twisted his ankle and knee. He was carrying a box full of materials and could not see the stairs over the box.
  • Eliminate the obstructed view.

  • When carrying a box that obstructs your view, ask for assistance!


A worker was pulling speaker wire while stepping off a curb and slid in the mud. Their Achilles tendon was torn.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Think “safety” on every job site.


A worker was cutting a threaded rod with a band saw, with the rod in one hand and the saw in the other hand. The band saw slipped and his wrist was cut.

  • Always use a tri-vise to hold the rod steady.

  • Use power tools correctly. A band saw requires the use of two hands.

Crushed Toes

The worker was moving and cleaning walk planks for use at a job site to shore up switch gear so it could be moved by forklift. While moving a board, it slipped out of the workers hands and landed on his foot, crushing his toes.

  • Always wear steel toed boots.

  • Better communication while moving the boards… ask for help!

Allergic Reaction While scoping out work for a refinery, a worker inhaled and came into skin contact with Diatomaceious Earth in Pre Coat. The worker had a severe allergic reaction with swelling of the left hand and wrist; itching and rash on right hand, feet, and neck; and impaired respiratory function. This is a very rare allergic reaction.
  • Site-specific company training should take place to advise everyone working in the area of the potential hazard of diatomaceious earth.

  • An emergency plan should also be put in place so if this happens again, the workers will know exactly what to do (i.e. location of an epi pen).


A worker was setting anchors to run pipe across the ceiling of a jobsite. He was working off a ladder and felt that the anchor set tool he was using was too short, but it was the only one available on the jobsite. He was using a two-pound hammer to set the anchors. A glancing blow off the shorts allowed the hammer to strike his finger and break it. The finger was set in a splint. Lost time accident of 6 days.

  • On a jobsite, have several sizes of anchor set tools available.

  • Jobsite Foreman or Supervisor should acknowledge the concerns of the workers on the job. If they feel their work environment circumstances are unsafe, this should be addressed.

Chemical Exposure

A sulfuric acid leak took place while a chemical truck was unloading into a chemical transfer pipe, 75 yards upwind from a worker. The fumes were so strong, they worker had to run from area in order to breathe. The worker vacated the area long enough for the wind to dissipate the fumes; it was then safe enough to return to work. No medical issues involved.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings on a given jobsite.

  • Whenever chemicals are involved in the surroundings, the worker should always know the side effects and treatment for those.

  • If showing signs listed on the MSDS sheet, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Try to know ahead of time of any chemical delivery times, and what chemicals are being delivered.

  • Have a planned emergency exit route.

  • If you are in an area where you cannot check your surroundings; have someone with you constantly check the area for you, working as a buddy system.

Grate Collapse

A worker was walking on a grate over a drainage trench. The grate shifted and caved in. The worker fell into the trench, and hit his knee on the edge of the metal. The trench was about 12 inches deep. The worker indicated that he was looking overhead tracing out pipe work for wire pulls, and pipe layout, and watching for lifts in the area when he stepped onto the grate and it fall back and through.

The injury resulted in a bruise and scrape. No first aid was provided.

  • Always be aware of your environment.

  • Use proper medical care on the jobsite. Take the time to treat your wound.

  • Any unsafe working conditions should be brought to the attention of the Contractor who can contact the client to make sure the area is updated appropriately.

Type of Incident Description Lessons Learned

Employee stepped on a piece of 1 ½” sealtite and rolled his foot. He was cutting with a band saw. Employee stated that the other end of the sealtite looped behind him. When finished cutting, he stepped backwards, landing on his own loop sealtite, rolling his foot.  No lost time.


  • The injured party was cutting sealtite without using a tri-stand or some type of vise. Proper planning was not complete.

  • Always pay attention to the “what if” factor.


Trip / Sprain An employee tripped on a piece of unistrut that was accidently left on the floor from another trades person  and rolled his ankle. The employee visited the doctor for an x-ray and it was determined that the injury was a sprain. The employee is back at work.
  • Housekeeping is everyone’s responsibility, even if the debris is left by another trade.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings…and watch your step!


A worker fell and reported the injury, but sought no treatment in case the injury flared up in the future.  The injury turned out to be a meniscus tear from a fall earlier in the year, and surgery was performed.

  • The parking lot was icy, so it is always important to be extra cautious under such conditions.

  • The surface had not been treated with salt, and no one took responsibility to do this.  So take the time to ensure that everyone is safe!

Trench Collapse While climbing out of a ditch, the ditch wall collapsed. The employee was trying to vacate the trench when he twisted his knee backward. The injury was diagnosed as a dislocation and broken left knee.
  • When working in a trench, a competent person who knows soil conditions (especially in the rain) should always be assigned to the location.

  • A ladder is needed in a trench at 48”

  • Make sure you have qualified personnel spotting with backhoe activity.

  • Always vacate a trench if it is raining.

Fall A worker fell from a ladder at approximately 5 feet in height while making a quick adjustment. He then broke his heel, requiring surgery. Proper PPE should always be worn in the proper fashion.
Strain An employee’s shoulder went “out” while adjusting lightning protection air terminals.
  • Always use a two-man work crew.

  • Always use the appropriate tool for the job, e.g. use a swivel that must be bent on the job and cannot be bent prior to install.

Too close to moving machinery This report comes from an electricians FaceBook page. They were lying under a machine but were so close to it while it was running that it was pulling out their hair. Their friend had several strands of hair with the roots still intact where they could see the hair had been pulled from the scalp.
  • Working on unguarded running machinery that can severely maim, or kill someone is a serious matter.

  • Use a guard on running machinery.

Bucket truck risk

A bucket truck was performing aerial work on the pole lights adjacent to the parking lot of the IBEW Local 82 Union Hall. There were no fall harnesses in use and at one time, both workers were in the lift. There was no fluorescent clothing in use and the truck was parked on the road between the two buildings and no cones were in use.

When both men were in the basket, there was no one to direct traffic and no barriers or caution tape or warning markers.

  • When working in an aerial lift, always use a safety harness.

  • Always place safety cones around the vehicle.

  • NEVER leave the truck unattended.

Accidental fall

An employee was carrying a box of material that was obstructing his view of the floor and when approaching the steps to go to a lower level with the material, the employee misjudged the step placement, they fell down 8 steps twisting their ankle and knee and stubbing their toe.

The steps in the mechanical room were a steep set of ship-style steps.

The employee made a full recovery.

  • Do not carry loads with an obstructed field of view.

  • Do not go down stairs or ladders where you cannot see your feet.

  • Treat stairs and ladders the same with 3 points of contact when they are unusually steep.

  • Use smaller boxes for better control and sight. Possibly use other people to pass the material to if necessary.

Cutting energized cable

Employees task involved extracting de-energized 4/0 high voltage cable running through various underground manholes.  An energized 4160v cable was mistakenly cut.  It was a near miss....

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