Source: Sherman Publications

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Construction worker electrocuted

by Susan Bromley

March 07, 2012

Brandon Underwriters, 422 Mill St
Ortonville- A 50-year-old Clio man was killed in the village March 1 when a ladder he was attempting to move fell on a power line, electrocuting him.

George Short died and his co-worker, Richard Ridley, 48, who was helping move an aluminum extension ladder, suffered minor injuries in the accident.

According to police reports, Short and Ridley, employed by Professional Roofing Services of Flushing, were working on the Brandon Underwriters building, 422 Mill St. The men were on the east side of the building, which faces Pond St., and were trying to move the ladder, said a witness. The ladder fell back and hit power lines that run north and south and are about 10 feet away from the two-story building, causing a loud popping noise. The men fell to the ground.

Brandon firefighters and police responded, initiated CPR, and ambulances transported the men to Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, where Short was pronounced deceased.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation.

Brandon Fire Chief David Kwapis said there are several safety guidelines to keep in mind when working near powerlines.

nNever work within 10 feet of a powerline.

nWhen working near a powerline, contact Detroit Edison, which will place safety devices— sleeves— over powerlines for protection, or may be able to de-energize lines.

nUse a fiberglass ladder when working near powerlines.

This is not the first time Brandon firefighters have responded to an electrocution, including one in which a man was paving an asphalt driveway and the dump truck came in contact with an overhead powerline. That man survived, but suffered third-degree burns.

"They typically end up in a tragedy, unfortunately," said Kwapis. "Survival depends on what you are in contact with, the amount of electricity, and direct contact. It's a real shame for this guy. He had a 17-year-old son, it's devastating for that family."