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Author Topic: Electrocution in OKC  (Read 872 times)

John Fruits

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Electrocution in OKC
« on: October 03, 2018, 07:43:08 am »

This happened Monday in the OKC Bricktown Canal.
BRICKTOWN
The lighting bollards along the canal were installed about 20 years ago and are un-grounded. 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 10:18:50 am »

This happened Monday in the OKC Bricktown Canal.
BRICKTOWN
The lighting bollards along the canal were installed about 20 years ago and are un-grounded.

Nothing surprises me about lack of Code, or lack of compliance with Code that gets approved by the AHJ.  Okla is about as corrupt as you can get and the first folks in line for screwing consumers in the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce.  The willingness of Oklahomans to line up behind them astounds me and their mindset is why I left Okla many years ago for Kansas.  At the time Kansas was "better".  Now we're trying to go lower than Okla, faster.  If I could move and start my life over in my 60s I'd leave these shirthole states for somewhere better.

The spokesperson from the City saying the bollards couldn't be grounded because they're 20 years old is so full of shit she should be sent to the waste treatment plant.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 10:21:53 am by Tim McCulloch »
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John Fruits

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 10:31:30 am »

One official comment that bothers me is that "When installed, the lights were up to code".  Yeah, that was then, this is now.
I better not comment on the C of C, it would quickly head into verboten territory.  I will say that some Chamber leadership seems to feel that busineses are there for the benefit of the Chamber, when IMHO they have it vice versa.
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David Allred

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 11:06:09 am »

If he grabbed the wires, as the report says, (assuming exposed contacts or cut insulation from the accident) would grounding have changed anything.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 11:10:30 am »

I won't say exactly why I'm unhappy with the OK CoC because my personal take would likely violate the forum rules about "social issues" (is labor a social issue?).  I'll say only that the OK CoC ruthlessly advocates for business and industry at the peril of average working citizens & the environment (not that anyone in power in OK gives a damn about the environment)... and it's that mentality that pervades the enforcement of existing regulations and Codes; and that mentality is not limited to the Red Dirt state.

If he grabbed the wires, as the report says, (assuming exposed contacts or cut insulation from the accident) would grounding have changed anything.

If it were property protected by GFCI the answer is the wires would have been de-energized when the bollard hit the water.  I think the media reports and amateur electricians have confused the words "grounded" and "protected".
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David Allred

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2018, 12:06:34 pm »



  I think the media reports and amateur electricians have confused the words "grounded" and "protected".

Today's "media".......
The article was poorly written, over-all.  At the end, 2 different men were mentioned and the following paragraphs use "he" multiple time to describe their varying conditions and circumstances.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2018, 01:28:28 pm »

20 years=1998  I've had my master's license since 2001-and journeyman 3 years before that.  Pretty sure grounding was on the "Block" test I took at the time.  It's not really THAT long ago is it?  Then there is such a thing as GFCI protection.

In fairness, hindsight is 20/20.  A reminder for all of us to be proactive in correcting things we become aware of.  The amazing positive thing is that there were not more victims in a situation like this.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2018, 02:09:54 pm »

Today's "media".......
The article was poorly written, over-all.  At the end, 2 different men were mentioned and the following paragraphs use "he" multiple time to describe their varying conditions and circumstances.

From a TV station.  It's the closed-caption or teleprompter feed that gets funneled to the station web site.  The words go with images on the screen so "he" usually refers to whomever is pictured on screen, etc.

Amazing what kind of reporters you get for minimum wage these days! /sarc  Paying for news was hard enough before the internet, now finding a budget for real reporters and real editors is almost impossible to do and the quality of journalism has suffered.  My local newspaper has about 25% of the staff it had only 5 years ago.  Formerly a Knight-Ridder paper, now owned by McClatchy.  /nostalgic flashback
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Rob Spence

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2018, 02:54:20 pm »

20 years=1998  I've had my master's license since 2001-and journeyman 3 years before that.  Pretty sure grounding was on the "Block" test I took at the time.  It's not really THAT long ago is it?  Then there is such a thing as GFCI protection.

In fairness, hindsight is 20/20.  A reminder for all of us to be proactive in correcting things we become aware of.  The amazing positive thing is that there were not more victims in a situation like this.

When I built my house in 1975, I wired it using current code as a minimum. I am pretty sure even back then, metal that can come into contact with live wires was required to be grounded. Admittedly some of the grounding techniques (like using conduit or flex to carry ground) are no longer permitted.



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Tom Burgess

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 11:25:06 am »

Sad deal, for sure.  It's been all over the news here for the last few days.  I've little doubt that lawsuits will soon follow and all the details about the Design, Engineering, Contracting, and so forth will be brought to light.

I can't even imagine what the families and friends are going through.
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David Allred

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 12:02:52 pm »

Sad deal, for sure.  It's been all over the news here for the last few days.  I've little doubt that lawsuits will soon follow and all the details about the Design, Engineering, Contracting, and so forth will be brought to light.

I can't even imagine what the families and friends are going through.

I wonder if the concrete provider, finisher, and anchor hole driller will be included in any lawsuits.  They each could be culpable.  (half in jest, but partially serious)
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2018, 12:06:05 pm »

I wonder if the concrete provider, finisher, and anchor hole driller will be included in any lawsuits.  They each could be culpable.  (half in jest, but partially serious)

It's likely.  The way these lawsuits usually work is to name *everyone* who had a hand, foot or finger in the design, construction and maintenance and let the court decide who needs to be in the suit.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2018, 12:38:37 pm »

It's likely.  The way these lawsuits usually work is to name *everyone* who had a hand, foot or finger in the design, construction and maintenance and let the court decide who needs to be in the suit.

THIS.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2018, 12:41:09 pm »

First the lawyers look for who involved has deep pockets... Peavey got sued when a muso was killed by a RPBG outlet...

JR
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David Allred

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2018, 12:45:32 pm »

It's likely.  The way these lawsuits usually work is to name *everyone* who had a hand, foot or finger in the design, construction and maintenance and let the court decide who needs to be in the suit.

So... unlawful leaning by an unauthorized civilian counter-suit?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2018, 02:57:00 pm »

So... unlawful leaning by an unauthorized civilian counter-suit?

There is probably a lawyer in OKC who'd take the case but my gut tells me in Oklahoma he'd not find a judge who would let the case go forward.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Jeff Bankston

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2018, 03:38:30 pm »

Why did the light come loose ? My electrical crews have anchored many lights. Did the base of the light rust and become weak ? Was it mounted on a wood walkway , concrete walkway , asphalt ? Did the fasteners become weak ? My 350 pound butt is suppose to able to be supported by such stuff that people come in contact with. I have leaned on lots of lights in my day that other electricians installed and they never moved. As for GFI that would need to be the breaker. The electrical engineer draws the plans. If I had wired that and there was not a GFI breaker I would have have sent an RFI as to why not. I would have informed the job super and my boss. It would be up to the electrical engineer to approve the GFI. If the engineer did not approve the GFI we would not be allowed to install one. However after the job was complete and turned over to the owner a GFI breaker could be installed. All this complexity has to do with not following the approved blueprints and the city inspector not signing off the job and liability when a problem arises. Yes lawsuits lawsuits lawsuits. The electrical foreman on that job should have seen the potential for danger and spoke up and maybe he did and was told there was no need for a GFI because that code did not require it. I have done service in old building and seen stuff that was extremely dangerous and refused to work on it unless the main breaker was turned off. And it was built to the code that was in effect at that time. I am a retired commercial electrician.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 03:41:34 pm by Jeff Bankston »
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Jason Glass

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2018, 11:12:28 pm »

There is probably a lawyer in OKC who'd take the case but my gut tells me in Oklahoma he'd not find a judge who would let the case go forward.
And even if the judge allows it to continue, municipalities are often protected by strict and laughable award limits even if proven grossly negligent.  In my Tennessee case our county was only exposed for $100K regardless of any legal finding.  This is the kind of thing that causes lawyers to shriek in terror and run away from a case before the first motion is filed because 33% of peanuts is 1/3 of said worthless legumes and they know it.  As it was designed to do.

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2018, 12:44:22 am »

And even if the judge allows it to continue, municipalities are often protected by strict and laughable award limits even if proven grossly negligent.  In my Tennessee case our county was only exposed for $100K regardless of any legal finding.  This is the kind of thing that causes lawyers to shriek in terror and run away from a case before the first motion is filed because 33% of peanuts is 1/3 of said worthless legumes and they know it.  As it was designed to do.

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From my Armchair Lawyer perspective it was intended to prevent those without independent means from seeking justice or achieving meaningful compensation from an irresponsible and negligent party who conveniently happens to be a municipal government.  As it was designed to do.
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2018, 04:44:17 am »

A big problem I have with this is WHY the light was not properly maintained. 20 year old light was not LED. Either fluorescent or filament. Somebody was responsible for changing the light bulbs and checking the condition of the fixtures and making sure they were safe from whatever. Who ever was doing that failed to do their job.
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David Allred

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2018, 07:24:22 am »

And even if the judge allows it to continue, municipalities are often protected by strict and laughable award limits even if proven grossly negligent.  In my Tennessee case our county was only exposed for $100K regardless of any legal finding.  This is the kind of thing that causes lawyers to shriek in terror and run away from a case before the first motion is filed because 33% of peanuts is 1/3 of said worthless legumes and they know it.  As it was designed to do.

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I was saying that the city might sue the individual that broke  their light, causing the whole mess.
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David Buckley

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2018, 06:08:18 pm »

If the lighting bollards along the canal are owned by the "public" (I don't know what the right term is in American, here it would be Council owned) then they may well not fall under the NEC but under the NESC, which does not (to this day) require that public space lighting is grounded in the same way that it would be if the NEC applied.

How to do shock prevention from public space lighting (a/k/a/ street lights) with metal poles is a conundrum worldwide, as there are a number of conflicting issues, the biggest of which is "what exactly is ground?"

In a conventional (US) electrical installation, the neutral and ground are bonded in the service entrance, and that ground is then distributed throughout the premise to form an equipotential zone.  This can sort of be done in streetlights too; there is a neutral/ground bond and earth rod at each streetlight, with the note that sometimes the steel pole is itself the ground rod, so the neutral is effectively connected to the pole.  There is no ground conductor to or between streetlights.

Another permitted approach is that there is no electrical connection at all between the pole and wiring.

The problem with these approaches is that under fault conditions the pole can become live, and that is bad, and as noted in this article, it ended up being fatal.   But that is perhaps less surprising, because the bollard light was dragged into the canal, and so it is possible that one or more of the wires were strained and removed from their terminations, which could cause a fault and shock situation even with no underlying fault or contributions from the design. 

The only approach I think works reasonably well (but only over a short distance) is to wire the poles to the full NEC, so a ground conductor is also run to each pole.  This is the way its done in private spaces for their outdoor lights.

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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Electrocution in OKC
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2018, 07:01:26 pm »

It seems like the only thing that truly could have prevented these deaths would be a GFCI circuit.
Even with a wired ground, if the pole broke off the base and got energized, anything touching the metal would get juiced.
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