Rapid release of the jammed communication cable injures worker
October 22, 2018
During the construction of an above surface ropeway a worker was assisting in the install of a communication cable onto the ropeway towers. During the process of pulling the communication cable over the towers the cable became jammed on some guide equipment. A subsequent release of the jammed cable and the resulting equalization in tension of the cable caused a line reaction in which the cable was whipped upward nearby the worker. The worker became entangled with the cable causing them to be lifted approximately 3m-4m and the dropped onto hard ground.
It is very likely that the splice connecting the communication cable to the straw line was constructed in a method that allowed it to become jammed or bound up with guide equipment. The splice jammed in the roller stringing block, the sudden release and re-tensioning is what very likely caused the line reaction with which the worker became entangled with.
It is certain that the worker was within the reaction zone (bight) of the communication cable that was being installed. As the worker was not provided with clear instructions of hazards and how to avoid them for task of monitoring the cable position. It is plausible the worker was not aware of the bight hazard around the moving/tensioned cable.
The person at the bottom station responsible for the supervision of the cable install did not have a clear view of all the workers in the area. It is plausible, that the worker being within the bight hazard zone, was not realized by the supervisor. Further distraction to the workers and supervisors may have also been a contributing factor due to that multiple tasks were being completed in the same area.