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Assessment 6: Electric Devices

Assignment: Industrial Electrocution-A case study
Description of events
Sam is excited about his first day at work as a construction worker – his first ‘serious’
job since leaving school. The day starts early and he is introduced to a small team
responsible for working on the eleventh floor of a residential block.
Davo, his team leader, allocates tasks to team members; Sam is assigned general hand
duties, helping to clean up around other workers, some also new to the construction
industry. The floor is exposed to the weather and some overnight light showers have
left small traces of moisture and one noticeably wide but very shallow puddle in an
uneven section of the floor.
Even though materials and battered tools are scattered around the area, work is
progressing well although noise levels are high and communication is difficult at
times. The team has worked all morning when Davo calls the first rest break. Sam is
last to leave the floor. Before doing so he notices a high powered electrical disc cutter
lying on the floor and decides to shift it aside. As he touches it, he falls directly to the
floor and into the shallow puddle of water.
A worker from the floor below smells something burning and finds Sam face up with
the disc cutter firmly clenched in his left hand. The emergency power switch is turned
off but Sam cannot be revived.

The evidence
You soon discover:

the heavy-duty electrical extension power cord connected to the disc cutter has
three cuts through the protective insulation, all exposing the earth wire
all the cuts severed the earth wire; the second cut exposed the neutral wire
which was touching the earth wire
the first cut of the extension cord with was in contact with the pool of water
the disc cutter has no plug, just three coloured wires coming from the remains
of the cord attached to it
an inexperienced worker decided to get the disc cutter working by connecting
the green/yellow wire from the disc cutter to one of the active terminals of the
4-gang extension socket outlet. This was done just before the rest break was

As part of your investigation you take photographs and later sketch aspects of the
accident scene to understand how the fatality occurred.

Set out your work using a biro on note paper, not on the question book
pages. You will need to make some entries on pages 41 and 43, so these
can be removed and attached to your submission.
Show full working out and answers to the questions below. Show any
calculations in a neat and logical way.

a) Did the inexperienced worker connect the neutral, active or earth wire
of the disc cutter to an active terminal of the 4-gang extension socket
(1 mark)
b) How does his action affect the disc cutter?
(2 marks)
2. What role did the puddle of water play in this accident?
(2 marks)
a) Which cut into the extension cord proved to be the most important to
solving this case?
(1 mark)
b) Explain why.

(2 marks)

4. Trace out and label the path of the fatal current over figure 1.
(2 marks)
5. Why did the properly working RCD not activate in this instance?
(2 marks)

6. The disc cutter is rated at 2400 W and the generator is creating a potential
difference of 240 V. Assuming the resistance of the deceased worker is no
greater than the resistance of the disc cutter, calculate the minimum current
through his body.
(3 marks)
a) Identify electrical safety hazards at this work site by using the
WorkSafe electrical hazards checklist shown below.
(3 marks)
b) List general safety improvements for this work site; consider the way
work was managed.
(2 marks)

Modified Work Safe Checklist
People working with electricity have been
given information, instruction and training
There is a maintenance program in place for
electrical installations
Electrical equipment has been tested
Residual current devices (RCD) are installed at
switchboards or into fixed sockets
Portable electrical equipment is protected by
Plugs, sockets and extensions are in good
The RCD device is labelled and has been
Flexible cords are protected from water, being
damaged or cut
Power points are suitable for the location and
are positioned safely
Safety procedures are in place for workers
working near overhead power lines
Machinery has been identified that may expose
workers to electrical risk
Cords are of suitable length for the intended
There are no double adaptors or three-pin plug
adaptors in use
Light fittings are suitable for the location and
are protected from breakage


Safety checklist


Assignment Total 20 marks

On completion of this activity, upload to Moodle:
Your full answers to the assignment questions above, showing
any calculations in a neat and logical way.
You will also need to upload your:
ƒ Page containing pictures of the accident scene (page 41)
ƒ Modified Work Safe Checklist (page 43)