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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, December 22, 2003


North Carolina: "Cable worker electrocuted in Lumberton"

Still another (1,2) cable TV worker has been electrocuted, this time in Lumberton, North Carolina. The exact cause of the accident has not been published.

The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requires cable TV companies maintain a minimum distance of 40 inches between their cable and the lowest power system conductor or cable for safety reasons. No details were available regarding this accident, so it's too soon to say it resulted from a safety zone violation.

Many cable TV companies and their contractors routinely violate the NESC safety zone rather than pay the $3000+ to buy a taller pole with more vertical space. We commonly see at least several violations per mile at the power utilities we work for. The Bells are usually conscientious about safety zones, but their telecom competitors can sometimes as reckless about NESC safety violations as cable TV operators.

Unfortunately, some designers and builders of municipal broadband systems follow the same unsafe design and construction practices. They'll even say they're installing non-metallic ADSS cable, then go on to install it in the safety zone with cable TV crews, hazarding electrocutions and opening the municipality up to serious liability issues.


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