Reports: Safety at issue in UW electrician's electrocution

2011-11-01T10:43:00Z 2011-11-01T11:40:59Z Reports: Safety at issue in UW electrician's electrocutionDEBORAH ZIFF | dziff@madison.com | 608-252-6234 madison.com
November 01, 2011 10:43 am  • 

A state investigation into the death of a UW-Madison employee electrocuted in July found the university had violated three safety codes, according to a report released to the State Journal on Tuesday.

But electrician Brad Krause, 40, of Sun Prairie, didn't properly isolate power or use the electrically insulated gloves he was provided, a UW-Madison investigation found.

Krause was killed while replacing and repairing lights in the ceiling above Mills Concert Hall in the Humanities building on July 26. 

Following Krause's death, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and UW-Madison's Environment, Health and Safety Department conducted investigations. 

The state's report found:

• The university had not assessed the workplace for hazards or trained electricians on proper, personal safety equipment based on those evaluations.

• An annual inspection of energy control procedures for specific equipment had not been completed or documented.

• Krause had not received training since 2007 on the unexpected startup or energizing of equipment, known as Lock Out/Tag Out.

The university said it took several measures to enhance safety.

"We're committed to do whatever is needed to avoid a recurrence of a situation like this," John Harrod, director of the university's physical plant, said in a statement. "These measures are needed to make sure that everyone has the safest work environment and values a culture of safety."

According to the university report, Krause was replacing components on a light fixture without properly isolating power, leaving him at risk of contacting an energized wire, and without wearing the safety gloves. The workspace allowed for limited mobility and field of view, the report found.

Krause had worked at the university for seven years as a journeyman electrician and had 20 years of experience. He had completed an exam for journeyman standing with the local union, according to the report.

The university said it will make the following changes: review the Electric Shop's existing electrical safety policy, review the personal protective equipment policy, evaluate and perform written hazard assessments for selecting personal protective equipment, conduct more frequent safety training, and arrange for first aid training for electrical shop workers.

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