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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => AC Power and Grounding => Topic started by: Mike Sokol on July 03, 2014, 08:37:29 am

Title: Liability for shocks
Post by: Mike Sokol on July 03, 2014, 08:37:29 am
Just found this on EC&M. Note that by paying a permit fee, residents had implied electrical safety at a dock and their lawsuit could move forward. That suggests that if you charge a promoter/town/band to supply power for a stage, then you're ultimately liable for anyone getting shocked/electrocuted on your stage. On the other hand, whoever issued the permit for a stage could be held liable as well, according to this ruling.

No, I'm not a lawyer (and never played one on TV), but I think we should all be sure our liability insurance is paid up, and do everything we can be assure our power systems are as safe as we can make them.

============================

A District Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that had previously dismissed Ameren Missouri from a wrongful death lawsuit for the electrocution of two children at Lake of the Ozarks in July 2012. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals found that Ameren Missouri did not have immunity under Missouri's Recreational Use Act (RUA) from liability for the dock on its lake due to the permit fees that the utility company charges for docks, according to a report from Lake News Online.

On July 4, 2012, Alexandra Anderson, 14, and Brayden Anderson, 8, died while swimming around their family's dock when it released electricity from devices on the dock into the water. The suit, filed by the children's mother, alleges that Ameren's negligence caused the deaths. An investigation indicated an improperly grounded electrical circuit to the dock, which was not ground-fault protected, was a contributing factor in their deaths.
Related

Lake Community Focuses on Dock Inspections

Kansas City Star Reports on Ungrounded, Uninspected Lake Docks

Lake News Online reported that in both her appeal and original petition, Anderson argued that Ameren's dock permit fee acted as a "use fee" for lake residents to "use and enjoy" the lake through their docks. The suit further stated that Ameren had the authority to revoke dock permits for any dock it deemed unsafe through enforcement fees and that the company should have known that adequate protection required ground fault interrupt devices to be placed at or above the seawall of each dock in order to prevent the hazards of electrical shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit or other electrical fault.

The Western District judges agreed that the dock permit and enforcement fees were user fees for the construction, use and enjoyment of their family dock and were sufficient to remove Ameren's immunity from liability under the RUA.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on July 03, 2014, 08:47:09 am
Just found this on EC&M. Note that by paying a permit fee, residents had implied electrical safety at a dock and their lawsuit could move orward. That suggests that if you charge a promoter/town/band to supply power for a stage, then you're ultimately liable for anyone getting shocked/electrocuted on your stage. On the other hand, whoever issued the permit for a stage could be held liable as well, according to this ruling.

No, I'm not a lawyer (and never played one on TV), but I think we should all be sure our liability insurance is paid up, and do everything we can be assure our power systems are as safe as we can make them.

============================

A District Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that had previously dismissed Ameren Missouri from a wrongful death lawsuit for the electrocution of two children at Lake of the Ozarks in July 2012. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals found that Ameren Missouri did not have immunity under Missouri's Recreational Use Act (RUA) from liability for the dock on its lake due to the permit fees that the utility company charges for docks, according to a report from Lake News Online.

On July 4, 2012, Alexandra Anderson, 14, and Brayden Anderson, 8, died while swimming around their family's dock when it released electricity from devices on the dock into the water. The suit, filed by the children's mother, alleges that Ameren's negligence caused the deaths. An investigation indicated an improperly grounded electrical circuit to the dock, which was not ground-fault protected, was a contributing factor in their deaths.
Related

Lake Community Focuses on Dock Inspections

Kansas City Star Reports on Ungrounded, Uninspected Lake Docks

Lake News Online reported that in both her appeal and original petition, Anderson argued that Ameren's dock permit fee acted as a "use fee" for lake residents to "use and enjoy" the lake through their docks. The suit further stated that Ameren had the authority to revoke dock permits for any dock it deemed unsafe through enforcement fees and that the company should have known that adequate protection required ground fault interrupt devices to be placed at or above the seawall of each dock in order to prevent the hazards of electrical shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit or other electrical fault.

The Western District judges agreed that the dock permit and enforcement fees were user fees for the construction, use and enjoyment of their family dock and were sufficient to remove Ameren's immunity from liability under the RUA.
Many, possibly even most of the hotel ballrooms I work have illegal wiring.  One uses a 15-60 (HHHG) to supply their house distro.  Several use 4/4 SO cord to power 100A+ distros.  I've never understood how this situation can stand - even in 4-star downtown hotels.  Code enforcement is apparently non-existant.  The fact that usually these services come with a $$$ or more fee is doubly frustrating.  I suppose only a fire or a shock will change things, due to lawsuits like these.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 03, 2014, 09:48:19 am
I've held the opinion that if you provide it, you're liable for it.... and even if you didn't provide it a jury may find you liable anyway.

As for TJ's comments about hotel and event center electrical, I agree.  Typically they use the 'wrong' connector to keep folks from just plugging in.  If you have to order a distro through the hotel you can be certain that electrical use and distro rental charges will appear on the bill.

Truly shocking are the amounts charged for non-compliant equipment and electricity.  But that's another post...
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on July 03, 2014, 09:49:55 am
Mike, it is unclear to me from the article you quote whether the company named as the (a) defendant is a utility provider (POCO) and/or the owner of the land where the docks were installed. If either is the situation, there may (might) be a significant legal distiction to draw. Please note that I'm not an attorney licensed to practice in Missouri, and I have not read the underlying decisions. Liability laws vary from state to state, even within the United (?) States of America, so YMMV.  Mark C.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Mike Sokol on July 03, 2014, 10:05:49 am
Mike, it is unclear to me from the article you quote whether the company named as the (a) defendant is a utility provider (POCO) and/or the owner of the land where the docks were installed.

Yes, this was written in "legalese" which get's confusing to me when anything beyond double negatives are used.  >:(

But you can see that there are HUGE sums of money involved with wrongful death lawsuits. I remember doing an outside show with multiple delay towers across the field. We had the stage company supply portable scaffolding about 8 feet off the ground which we used to ground-stack amp racks and speaker cabinets at each location. We safety taped around the legs of each scaffold to keep people our from underneath, but every time I would walk the field I would find a few people "camped out" under the scaffolding. I would explain to them that there was the weight of a car right over their heads, and move them out. But when I came out to check an hour later, another group would have pulled down the warning tape and camped out again. I can just imagine the liability issues if something collapsed since they would have been squashed like bugs, but think I did everything within my power to stop them short of posting a guard at each location. Perhaps if I used a Taser on a few of them they would get the idea.  :o (just kidding, but you were thinking it too) 
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on July 03, 2014, 11:11:28 am
Mike, it is unclear to me from the article you quote whether the company named as the (a) defendant is a utility provider (POCO) and/or the owner of the land where the docks were installed. If either is the situation, there may (might) be a significant legal distiction to draw. Please note that I'm not an attorney licensed to practice in Missouri, and I have not read the underlying decisions. Liability laws vary from state to state, even within the United (?) States of America, so YMMV.  Mark C.

As I read it, while they are a utility, as a defendant in this case they are being treated as the landowner. That is, the power company built a dam, which created a reservoir, which people-who-can-afford-high-powered-attorneys developed recreation properties around. The fact that they (may) also provide the electrical power that is used at the dock is irrelevant to the case, as the power distribution on the dock is the responsibility of the dock owner (the offendant -- er, I mean the plaintiff), since the utility's responsibility ends at the meter. Having a process to issue permits for private docks on the PoCo-owned reservoir implies a responsibility of revoking that permit if the dock is not safe.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on July 03, 2014, 11:14:24 am
Many, possibly even most of the hotel ballrooms I work have illegal wiring.  One uses a 15-60 (HHHG) to supply their house distro.  Several use 4/4 SO cord to power 100A+ distros.  I've never understood how this situation can stand - even in 4-star downtown hotels.  Code enforcement is apparently non-existant.  The fact that usually these services come with a $$$ or more fee is doubly frustrating.  I suppose only a fire or a shock will change things, due to lawsuits like these.
It would be cheaper for the hotel -- and safer for everyone -- to just have a means of locking out the power to a properly selected and wired distro receptacle. And they could still charge $$$ or more.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: jasonfinnigan on July 03, 2014, 04:08:58 pm
So would providing the power distro but not charging an extra fee for it, just including it as part of normal service relive you of that liability?

Kind of like those infomercial Amish fire place electric heaters, they say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part (which is made into it) is a "free gift" the reason is if it doesn't work it was a free gift so theres not much you can do about it unless its the wood work with issues.

http://todstrohblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/miracle.html
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 03, 2014, 04:23:29 pm
So would providing the power distro but not charging an extra fee for it, just including it as part of normal service relive you of that liability?

Kind of like those infomercial Amish fire place electric heaters, they say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part (which is made into it) is a "free gift" the reason is if it doesn't work it was a free gift so theres not much you can do about it unless its the wood work with issues.

http://todstrohblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/miracle.html

Probably not.  The 'fireplace' maker doesn't want the _product liability_ of the heater.  This is different because we as system providers must furnish incidental electrical service as part of our normal gig, and are not selling a finished product to an end user.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 06:01:44 pm
i have seen these Amphenol connectors in hotel ballrooms. 4/0 5 wire. the female connector is mounted on the wall. all the ones i have seen have a disconnect switch but if someone doeasnt turn the disconnect off it can be deadly. fingers can be stuck in those holes in the female connector. who is liable for that ?
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Frank DeWitt on July 04, 2014, 06:43:00 pm
i have seen these Amphenol connectors in hotel ballrooms. 4/0 5 wire. the female connector is mounted on the wall. all the ones i have seen have a disconnect switch but if someone doesn't turn the disconnect off it can be deadly. fingers can be stuck in those holes in the female connector. who is liable for that ?

First it has to happen.
The connector must be installed
It must be turned on
It must be left on
Someone needs to stick there finger in there.
They need to get hurt.
Then someone might be looking for who is liable.

Thinking about safety and letting that thinking guide our actions is good.  Worrying about liability can be debilitating.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 04, 2014, 06:43:54 pm
Kind of like those infomercial Amish fire place electric heaters, they say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part (which is made into it) is a "free gift" the reason is if it doesn't work it was a free gift so theres not much you can do about it unless its the wood work with issues.

so maybe it's just me but the lack of punctuation is making this impossible to comprehend. "They say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part" - what is by the woodwork? The heater? Something else? I just can't figure out what's next to the woodwork and how this is all supposed to fit together...  :o

-Ray
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: jasonfinnigan on July 04, 2014, 07:06:02 pm
so maybe it's just me but the lack of punctuation is making this impossible to comprehend. "They say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part" - what is by the woodwork? The heater? Something else? I just can't figure out what's next to the woodwork and how this is all supposed to fit together...  :o

-Ray
Sorry for having dyslexia. You can hide my posts if you dont like it
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 07:06:14 pm
First it has to happen.
The connector must be installed
It must be turned on
It must be left on
Someone needs to stick there finger in there.
They need to get hurt.
Then someone might be looking for who is liable.

Thinking about safety and letting that thinking guide our actions is good.  Worrying about liability can be debilitating.
well i was wondering because i am an electrician and have ben asked to install one of those. i declined just because of the hazzard. in california "everyone" in the chain gets sued. the manufacturer , the distrubutor , the wholesaler/retailer , the installer , the end user. that got me thinking what i could get hit with. about 15 years ago i crushed the end off a finger with a car engine stand(oucheee). i had the finger reatatched and its still working. the engine stand had a defective design. i had medical bills and missed work. i contacted the company that made the stand and they told me to go pound sand. i contacted several lawyers and thats when i found eveyone in the chain is sued. imo the manufacturer was the only party responsible but thats not how california law is written. i didnt think it fair to sue the distrubutor or the store i bought it from. i decided to file a lawsuit myself against the manufacturer only. i had it served and immediatly they took care of me and i gave them the defective stand and got another one. i dont know what the liability laws of other states are. when we have played in parks we make sure we have plenty of security so as not to land in court like is happening in the Frank McCourt/Brian Stow Doggers Baseball injury case. Stow is claiming McCourt didnt have enough security and is seeking millions in damages. Stow got hurt real bad.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 07:08:29 pm
so maybe it's just me but the lack of punctuation is making this impossible to comprehend. "They say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part" - what is by the woodwork? The heater? Something else? I just can't figure out what's next to the woodwork and how this is all supposed to fit together...  :o

-Ray
i did not have any problem reading and understand that non punktuated very long sentance. but i'm not normal either, i'm a drummer !
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 07:09:43 pm
Sorry for having dyslexia.
well thats certainly better than having less dixyia !  ;D
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 04, 2014, 08:30:03 pm
Sorry for having dyslexia. You can hide my posts if you dont like it
My gosh, I'm sorry, I did not mean to come across as mean or anything. I value the input of everyone on here. Dyslexia shouldn't be something you would be sorry for. I've never had a problem with your posts in the past, though, so I thought maybe this was just one that a helpful computer program "helped" you on.

Again, I apologise if you were offended. I just did not understand what you're trying to say with that post, cos it appears that there's some missing words or something.

Ray
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 04, 2014, 08:35:00 pm
i did not have any problem reading and understand that non punktuated very long sentance. but i'm not normal either, i'm a drummer !

I would point out that your instrument of choice has nothing to do with your refusal to utilize the English language properly, but that discussion would not be anything we have not had in the past. I know you are proud of your "hillbilly appearance," but I would respectfully ask that if another post could be difficult to understand due to missing words/punctuation, and I ask for clarification, would you please not make me feel awkward for asking? In this case, since it's not their choice, it's just kind of mean.

Thank you,

Ray
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 09:07:46 pm
I would point out that your instrument of choice has nothing to do with your refusal to utilize the English language properly, but that discussion would not be anything we have not had in the past. I know you are proud of your "hillbilly appearance," but I would respectfully ask that if another post could be difficult to understand due to missing words/punctuation, and I ask for clarification, would you please not make me feel awkward for asking? In this case, since it's not their choice, it's just kind of mean.

Thank you,

Ray
well every drummer i have ever known is kinda strange. we drummers know this and even mention it. as for being a hillbilly i am not i am a south mississippi redneck. hillbillys live in the hills of arkansas and tennesse and other hilly places, missippi is flat. i have had many people refer to me as a hillbilly and i correct them. i wasnt making fun of you or anyone else. my point was any grown man should be able to read and understand without punctuation. long ago languages were written in "running hand" and words were run together and punctuation did not exhist. so far i haven seen anything here typed in "text message" lingo but it could happen.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: jasonfinnigan on July 04, 2014, 09:13:28 pm
well every drummer i have ever known is kinda strange.

well, there is the joke about drummers and how to tell if a stage is level ;)
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 04, 2014, 09:19:47 pm
my point was any grown man should be able to read and understand without punctuation. long ago languages were written in "running hand" and words were run together and punctuation did not exhist. so far i haven seen anything here typed in "text message" lingo but it could happen.

I meant no offense referring to you as a hillbilly as opposed to a redneck.

But no, the post that I replied to, it does NOT make sense. Again, referencing the line:  "They say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part"  - you cannot argue in any logical manner that this makes sense. There's no context to determine what is by the woodwork, and what is by the electric heater. Or "they" *saw* someone by it? I don't know. It makes no sense, and that was my point. I apologised to Mr. Finnigan if I insulted him, not knowing that he suffers from dyslexia. But, to accuse me of not being a "Grown man" because the lack of context makes the post incomprehensible is offensive to me. It's less the lack of punctuation and more the words that do not fit into the context within which they are being used.

I just am kindly asking *you* to not butt in on a situation like this. I don't think that's too much to ask for, sir.

Thank you,

Ray
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 09:20:49 pm
well, there is the joke about drummers and how to tell if a stage is level ;)
uh oh ! i dont know that answer ! i'll roll around on the floor and think about it : )
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 09:27:59 pm
I meant no offense referring to you as a hillbilly as opposed to a redneck.

But no, the post that I replied to, it does NOT make sense. Again, referencing the line:  "They say you by the woodwork and the electric heater part"  - you cannot argue in any logical manner that this makes sense. There's no context to determine what is by the woodwork, and what is by the electric heater. Or "they" *saw* someone by it? I don't know. It makes no sense, and that was my point. I apologised to Mr. Finnigan if I insulted him, not knowing that he suffers from dyslexia. But, to accuse me of not being a "Grown man" because the lack of context makes the post incomprehensible is offensive to me. It's less the lack of punctuation and more the words that do not fit into the context within which they are being used.

I just am kindly asking *you* to not butt in on a situation like this. I don't think that's too much to ask for, sir.

Thank you,

Ray
no offence taken by the hillbilly thing, i'm just being accurate. if i were from the hills i would proudly call myself a hillybilly or way up high hillbilly. as for reading the thing i have have read misspelled words and bad punctuation many times. theres even paragraphs that are purposefully done to prove that people can underatand whats being said. as for butting in i didnt consider myself to be butting in but replying to a comment in which i said i didnt have a problem understanding it. how is that butting in. this is all i have to say on this matter.
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 04, 2014, 09:38:53 pm
no offence taken by the hillbilly thing, i'm just being accurate. if i were from the hills i would proudly call myself a hillybilly or way up high hillbilly. as for reading the thing i have have read misspelled words and bad punctuation many times. theres even paragraphs that are purposefully done to prove that people can underatand whats being said. as for butting in i didnt consider myself to be butting in but replying to a comment in which i said i didnt have a problem understanding it. how is that butting in. this is all i have to say on this matter.

Oh I know, and I find that I can often figure out what someone is saying, but in this case-- sursly, it doesn't make sense. Mr. Finnigan doesn't seem to want to clarify so that people can understand, which is, of course, his choice. I was hoping that he wanted to be as clear and concise as possible. It's just that with your comments, I think it's all considered a joke now, which is why your intervention was frustrating.

Alas, it is what it is. Some people are more concerned about being understood then others. I can't change others, just continue to do the best that I can.

Thanks, I will also leave this be now.

-Ray
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 04, 2014, 09:42:26 pm
...
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Rob Spence on July 05, 2014, 12:08:28 am
well i was wondering because i am an electrician and have ben asked to install one of those. i declined just because of the hazzard. in california "everyone" in the chain gets sued. the manufacturer , the distrubutor , the wholesaler/retailer , the installer , the end user. that got me thinking what i could get hit with.


Nothing to do with liability. In this free country you can sue anyone you want for most anything. How it turns out in court is another storey.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Rob Spence on July 05, 2014, 12:11:01 am
Oh I know, and I find that I can often figure out what someone is saying, but in this case-- sursly, it doesn't make sense. Mr. Finnigan doesn't seem to want to clarify so that people can understand, which is, of course, his choice. I was hoping that he wanted to be as clear and concise as possible. It's just that with your comments, I think it's all considered a joke now, which is why your intervention was frustrating.

Alas, it is what it is. Some people are more concerned about being understood then others. I can't change others, just continue to do the best that I can.

Thanks, I will also leave this be now.

-Ray

If you replace "by" with "buy" it makes more sense.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Ron Hebbard on July 05, 2014, 03:07:47 am
i have seen these Amphenol connectors in hotel ballrooms. 4/0 5 wire. the female connector is mounted on the wall. all the ones i have seen have a disconnect switch but if someone doeasnt turn the disconnect off it can be deadly. fingers can be stuck in those holes in the female connector. who is liable for that ?

Hello 'Redneck' Jeff!

In another lifetime, 1995 in this case, I was Head Electrician in a scenery and stage-automation shop located in Canada yet building shows and systems for Broadway, Germany, London England, Japan and having to work to / pass their codes and inspections; Germany's TUV inspectors were the most stringent.

To the point;
Where in North America we're used to 200 and 400 Amp 3 phase / 5 wire manufactured "Company Switches", complete with Cam-Locks, from folks like Lex Products and others, the German answer was a 'butch' C-Form panel-mounted five-pole female connector with an associated, and seriously service rated, 3 or 4 pole power relay / contactor.  3 or 4 poles because they're often fond of opening their neutrals simultaneously with all of their 'hots'. 
In amongst the holes housing the female's five contacts was a much smaller diameter hole affording access to close a pair of normally open contacts to energize the remotely located contactor.  In amongst the cable mounted male's five contacts was a smaller diameter, shorter length, pin whose only purpose was to actuate the female's internal contacts energizing the relay.
The cable's male connector needed to be fully inserted in order to have the relay's coil energized.

In the case of this particular theatre in Offenbach, suburban Frankfurt, the breaker panels and relays were located in a separate, locked, room accessible to licensed electricians only.  The panel mounted C-Form females were located where we were placing our racks housing the drives for our automation system's AC servo motors.  Each C-Form receptacle was supplied via an adjacent, lockable, non-fused isolation switch.
From memory, the 3 phase / 5 wire was 220/380 Volts at 50 Hz. and the C-Forms were rated for 125 Amps.
The way the C-Forms are designed, you can't touch the bare male contacts once they're inserted anywhere near far enough to be energized.  When there is no male connector inserted, the relay is withholding power to the female's contacts.  True, it's possible to conceive of failure modes that COULD result in the female's contacts being hot when you stick your uninsulated, long, thin screwdriver into the female's "finger protected" openings but it's a pretty good start and I believe it's working for them.  TUV actually have approved devices to simulate a 'standard finger tip' for testing and approval purposes.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Frank DeWitt on July 05, 2014, 11:02:53 am
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs

53 to flame the spell checkers

41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames

From  http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/listbulb.html
Title: Re: Liability for shocks
Post by: Jeff Bankston on July 05, 2014, 04:46:15 pm
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs

53 to flame the spell checkers

41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames

From  http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/listbulb.html
when i change a light bulb i hire 2 certified electricians to turn the ladder i'm on. however since i started using cfl bulbs i have to get guys that reverse rotate.