by , on September 23, 2014

In June of 2014, a Florida electrician was fatally electrocuted while working on a cooling unit at a Kangaroo gas station in St. Augustine.

According to the news story the worker was wearing wet shoes and shocked working on an chiller system.  HVAC and Chiller workers are covered by NFPA 70E and this worker should have been protected using those work methods: Work electrical ONLY if qualified, Work in an electrically safe work condition when possible, Use proper Arc Rated and Shock PPE for any arc flash and shock exposures.  These simple rules (part of our 7 Electrical Safe Habits Video) prevent most of the incidents and reduce the severity of all the others.

When the clerk stated he knew nothing about the situation, the officer climbed the ladder and saw the lower part of an adult man near the cooling unit. The unit was still observably energized as indicated by arcing.

Another employee reported an electrician having been working on the roof from between 6:00 p.m.  and 8:00 p.m. the previous night. Wagner was an employee of Integrity First Refrigeration, an independent contractor from DeLand, Florida.

Investigators from St. John’s County  Sheriff’s office report the electrocution was a result of a live wire accidentally being cut. Speculation indicates Wagner’s shoes as well as the roof floor could have been wet due to recent rainy weather conditions, which could have caused the electrocution. NFPA 70E and industry best practice is to use DI (Dielectric shoes) when working in wet locations on energized circuits.  DI  Shoes and other good safe work practices like NFPA 70E would have saved yet another life.

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Hugh Hoagland
About author:
Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

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