According to a recent report in The Seattle Times, the family of Madeline Roskie, an 18-year-old who died in August of 2014 while inner-tubing down the Puyallup River, is suing Puget Sound Energy and other unnamed defendants. In the wrongful death lawsuit, Mr. Roskie alleges that “his daughter was electrocuted by an ungrounded irrigation pipe or pump in the Puyallup River.” For more details on the circumstances that are believed to have led to the girl’s death, read the original news account.
Tragically, this isn’t the first story of its kind to be covered in EC&M that’s related to the often deadly mix of electricity, bodies of water, and/or boatyards and docks. Reports of alleged electric shock drowning (ESD) and electrocution incidents continue to plague the electrical industry, despite the ongoing focus on safety inspection and enforcement. Here are just a few examples from this year alone:
EC&M has also dedicated comprehensive coverage to this topic in several related feature articles, such as “What Lies Beneath” and “Pool Shock Peril Resurfaces,” which highlight the need for more careful inspection and stringent maintenance of bonding and grounding systems near or in bodies of water.
Editor-in-Chief Mike Eby has also voiced his thoughts on the subject in several editorial viewpoint columns (Shock Hazards in the Water Parts 1 and 2), stressing why he believes maintenance and testing of these protective systems is such a crucial component for the everyday safety of swimmers. “Corrosion and deteriorated bonding and grounding connections often expose swimmers to shock and electrocution hazards” he writes. “Many times, these faulty connections can be traced back to the use and installation of non-listed connectors and poor workmanship, which ultimately lead to a breakdown in the overall protective system.”