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Houston workers electrocuted, trapped on water tower

A Houston worker suffered electrocution and four other members of his crew were stranded on top of a 250-foot water tower last week when their equipment came into contact with live power lines in west Houston.

Reportedly, the incident occurred as the contract workers were pulling communications equipment to the top of the water tower when a gust of wind caused their wire to come into contact with a power line, energizing the tower and creating a very dangerous situation.

The incident took place at the 4000 block of S. Dairy Ashford near Brantrock close to 11:30 a.m., and several people said they heard many small blasts occur at a rapid pace. One person even captured the explosions on his cell phone.

A worker who was lower down on the water tower suffered burns but was able to jump safely to the ground. He was immediately taken to a local hospital for treatment. Four other workers were left trapped at the top of the water tower and had to be rescued by firefighters after the power company shut off the electricity about a half hour later.

Luckily, none of the workers at the top of the tower were burned. A witness said that the workers appeared to have known what they were doing as they all stayed away from anything metal. All four workers were taken to the local hospital to be checked for injuries. According to the fire department, all of the workers involved are in stable condition.

While we depend on electricity every day for just about everything that we do, accidents involving electricity can be devastating. The human body is no match for the powerful voltage that surges through power lines, and workers must use the utmost of safety around live wires.

Workers who are electrocuted on the job are generally entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. Depending on the state in which the worker lives, the worker may be required to report their injury to their employer and file certain forms within a specified period of time in order to begin receiving benefits.

A personal injury attorney can help advocate for the worker's rights throughout administrative proceedings, judicial proceedings and appeals if the worker's application for workers' compensation is disputed.

Source: KHOU, "1 burned, 4 stuck on top of water tower after equipment touches power lines," Aug. 25, 2011.

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