Truck Operator Is Electrocuted By Allegedly Defective Switchgear

    Electrician ExpertThis case involves a truck operator that was electrocuted while on a construction site. The driver lifted the dump bed of the truck and hit an overhead electric wire. Because the operator was in a truck with rubber tires, the circuit was incomplete. As he stepped out of the truck, however, the power did not shut off fast enough and the man was electrocuted and subsequently expired. It was alleged that the operator’s body should have completed the circuit and that the recloser should have shut off all electric power, preventing his death. An electrical contracting expert with significant experience in recloser circuits was sought to review the case.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with reclosers.
    • 2. Are you familiar with reclosers on power lines?

    Expert Witness Response E-009667

    I have extensive experience with reclosers, having served as an electrical contractor for 40+ years. I am a certified journeyman electrician and have served as an expert in a court of law for electrical power distribution matters many times, including multiple cases with reclosers. Typically, when a recloser senses that there is something wrong on the line itself, it will trip and turn back on again twice. The third time, it will shut off. A recloser must have three faults to shut off completely. If there is a fault on the line, the main transformer back at the substation will trip the circuit off. The recloser is designed so if the tire rim hits an electric line, it momentarily shuts itself doing and will go back up again. These reclosers can be set for 10 sec, 30 sec, 2 min, 5 min, etc, they are highly adjustable. In this particular case, power should definitely have been shut out, as the truck is naturally grounded.

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