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Investigators call Soldier’s electrocution “negligent homicide”

The death of a soldier electrocuted while showering at a military facility in Iraq a year ago may be changed from accidental death to negligent homicide.  Army criminal investigators say that KBR, the largest US contractor in Iraq, may have failed to have qualified electricians and plumbers undertaking installation work at military camps.    Up to 18 other deaths of military personnel and contracts have been blamed on faulty wiring or grounding. The installation codes and inspection practices developed in this country over the last 100 years have brought us unparalleled electrical safety, but they require a strict adherence to the rules the industry has developed.  A process in which NEMA, and it's members, have taken a leading role. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan spend their days in harms way, they should not have to face danger in their down time.  They deserve the same levels of electrical safety that we enjoy at home. 

 


Posted 01-26-2009 8:33 AM by Gerard Winstanley

Comments

Tom Renoe wrote re: Investigators call Soldier’s electrocution “negligent homicide”
on 03-17-2009 9:41 AM

I spent four years workin in Afghanistan and have personal experience with this problem. Most of my time was spent at remote foward operating bases originally wired by military engineer groups and unqualified soldiers. These bases were wired to the best ability of the soldiers performing the work. We were able to slowly increase the safety of the bases as material and personnell allowed. This process was slowed as 'union' contractors installed and/or upgraded electrical grids using only a single ground rod at the main generator location and none at any of the downstream panels. Further complicating this situation was local forces tying into the grid with 'borrowed' NM cable to power there portion of the base. I have personally removed many 12-2 NM-B from the main lugs of panels of course neither ground nor nuetral were used.

As the bases are expaned local plumbers install inferior water heaters which are then wired by local electricians. This is compounded by the installation of local 220 Volt ungrounded fluorescent fixtures. When these issues are found it often takes months to obtain "approval" of military oversite personnel before repair can be scheduled.

There is a problem using unqualified 'foreign nationial' plumbers and electricians by KBR. This was as a cost savings measure requested by the customer. Although many are quilified in their home country none of the have experience with grounded electrical system nor do they understand US wiring and NEC requirements.

There is a problem in this area but there are many factors involved. KBR is not the only contractor providing electrical installations and should not be the only one to be held responisble. Local contractors, other US contractors and even the US Army all share in the responsibility of these actions.

Commercial Electrical Contractor wrote re: Investigators call Soldier’s electrocution “negligent homicide”
on 09-16-2009 6:34 AM

As an electrician, I feel so sad on this kind of deaths.

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