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Electrical worker in D.C. hospital after high-power jolt

An electrical contract worker is reported in stable condition and said to be on the mend at Washington Hospital Center with burns over 50 percent of his body after suffering a power line jolt. According to Dominion Power, the man's injuries are the result of an unexplained error that caused what is called a flash over.

Officials say the man was working on a line along Hunter Mill Road and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Fairfax Tuesday afternoon when a spark from the high voltage line arced to his body. The power company says it's investigating the matter. Besides the serious injuries suffered by the contractor, power was knocked out for a time to some 5,000 customers.

A flashover is a major hazard around high voltage lines. According to Wikipedia, just shutting off the power isn't enough to avoid trouble. The mere step of d-energizing the line can create an arcing hazard that can result in burns that can melt materials, destroy insulators and spark fires.

There are no indications that anyone witnessed what happened in this instance. A passerby reportedly called authorities about the emergency after seeing the contractor unconscious in his aerial bucket.

Individuals who suffer serious work injuries may know that workers' compensation is the vehicle through which they and their families aren't left in a lurch after an accident. What many may not know is that compensation may be obtainable through sources other than an employer's workers' compensation coverage plan. To protect the fullness of your rights after a work accident, commit to contacting an experienced attorney.

Source: WNEW-FM, "Worker Badly Burned On Power Lines In Fairfax; Thousands Lost Power," Jan. 31, 2012

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