DALLAS, TX — A construction worker was killed after coming into contact with an overhead power line outside The Lizard Lounge nightclub in Deep Ellum on Wednesday afternoon.
Dallas Fire-Rescue was called to 2424 Swiss Avenue at around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday (01/10/2018) in response to a report of an injured worker. Dozens of first responders arrived on scene, but were unable to reach the man until Oncor arrived to de-energize the lines.
According to CBS 11, the victim’s brother says the two of them were on the roof—installing a scaffolding safety rail at the top of Lizard Lounge’s front exterior—when the victim slipped. A pole that the man was holding apparently made contact with an overhead power line, causing the man to suffer a serious electric shock and tumble from the roof. As the victim fell, his clothing became snagged on part of the scaffolding, leaving the man suspended about two stories above the ground.
Once Oncor Electric arrived at the scene and cut power to the lines, firefighters were able to free the victim from the scaffolding. Unfortunately, the man was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Dallas County Medical Examiner.
Dallas Police have not released the victim’s name or confirmed the nature of the work being performed, but Lizard Lounge owner Don Nedler told one news outlet that the man was an independent contractor working on repairs to the exterior of the building.
This is a truly tragic event, and unfortunately, one which should have been entirely avoidable had proper protocols been in place.
In addition to any state laws or local ordinances that may exist, OSHA imposes strict regulations and minimum clearance restrictions with regard to workers near power lines. Texas’ High Voltage Overhead Lines Act states that if it’s possible for a worker (or their equipment) to come within six feet of any high voltage overhead electric line, the project supervisor or foreman is required to first notify the operator of the electric line at least 48 hours in advance of beginning any planned work, and arrange for permission, for lines to be turned off, moved, or for other safety arrangements to be made.
While we don’t know all the details of this unfortunate accident, it seems very likely that either the company responsible for completing the repairs failed to notify and receive permission from Oncor, or their was a failure on Oncor’s behalf.
Our firm has considerable experience with power line accident cases, and we know that — as with any fatal work accident — issues of liability depend heavily upon the facts of the case. Our hope is that a thorough investigation is conducted in order to determine exactly what factors may have contributed to this tragedy.