Two Covington electric workers are recovering well this week after being injured on the job last Friday when a wire came loose, causing an arc flash – where electricity travels through the air between conductors – and burning the workers.
Line worker Mike Jones and electric truck operator Mike McVey were building a new power line, as part of a line relocation project at the Covington Municipal Airport, when a new wire they were installing accidentally came in contact with an energized wire, causing a flash and burning the workers’ faces, Utility Director Tim Morris said earlier this week.
The men were taken to the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit and released Friday night.
“They are doing well. They can’t go out into the sun for the next week, week and a half, but they are recovering well,” Morris said this week.
According to OSHA, arc flashes can cause blast pressure upwards of 2,000 pounds per square foot, noise as loud as 140 decibels (the level of some gun shots) and produce heat greater than 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The workers suffered burns to their lower faces and necks because those are the only parts not generally protected by standard gear, Morris said, noting that the workers wear hard hats, safety glasses, rubber gloves and fire retardant clothing.
“(The clothes) helped a lot with the molten metal (particles) flying from the flash and prevented further burns. Their protective equipment worked as it’s designed to do,” Morris said. “We’ll learn from the situation and go forward,” Morris said.