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previous: Victor I believe that it only takes one te... -- 8/16/2000 5:47 PM View Thread

Re: Ouch

8/16/2000 6:12 PM
Jay Doyle
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Re: Ouch
I had a summer job for two years at the oldest hydro dam on the Connecticut River in Vernon, Vermont. Good pay, nasty, dirty work but it was union work so everything got done right, but slowly. I never understood why everything took so long, but the safety issue was huge for the union as well as the company and one experience crystalized it for me.  
 
A switching order had been called in from the grid, so the Asst. Operator of the plant went up to do the switching, just so happened that my team was working on the same floor. Now the place was so old that the switching was done manually with a long pole with a hook on the end, the switch-man wore insulated, elbow length gloves.  
 
Well, someone, somewhere along the chain of command misread the switching order and the guy pulled the wrong, "live," switch, 69,000 Volts (a very small amount by today's standards) with nowhere to go but out. I was about 30 yards away when he pulled it, but the blast still knocked me to the floor, the ball of charge lasted for about 5 seconds and was bright blue. Luckily no one was seriously injured, even those directly under the switch, which was a miracle.  
 
The switch was anchored into the ceiling which was 6 feet of rebar inforced cement. The blast blew a hole in the ceiling 6 feet wide and four feet deep. When I got up, there were parts of the ceiling at my feet. Remember, I was 30 yards away. Directly under where the switch had been, there were pieces of glass that we figured was debris from the ceiling that had gotten hot enough to turn into glass.  
 
That convinced me that electricity was serious.  
 
It made me paranoid and I don't work on anything that can't be powered by more than a couple of 9Vs.  
 
Jay Doyle

 
Replies:
aron Re: Ouch - Thanks -- 8/16/2000 6:27 PM
Jim S. Re: Ouch -- 8/16/2000 6:49 PM