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Labor & Industries warns of power line dangers

The state Department of Labor & Industries has issued a reminder about the hazards of working around power lines after two workers were electrocuted by high voltage power lines in the last few weeks.

Terry Milbrad, an American Landscape employee, was cutting branches on a tree at a private Mercer Island home when he came into contact with a power line carrying 7,200 volts and was electrocuted Sept. 6.

Curtis Roderick, a Furrer Construction employee, was on an aerial lift power washing a silo in Woodland when he contacted a 7,200-volt power line and was electrocuted Sept. 19.

Most high-voltage deaths in Washington do not involve power line workers, but people whose jobs place them near power lines, such as construction workers, roofers, tree trimmers, agriculture workers, truck drivers or mobile equipment operators, according to the state.

To prevent electrocutions, stay at least 10 feet away from power lines, and sometimes more for levels exceeding 50,000 volts, keep equipment at least 10 feet from power lines and use a trained person as a spotter, if working within 10 feet, L&I said.

Call the utility company to see if it will ground the power lines, and install electronic warning devices on cranes and other equipment that issue warnings when too close to an energized line, and make sure workers are properly trained, L&I said.

More information can be found at www.Lni.wa.gov/safety under 'e' for electrical rules.

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