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Electrocuted lineman had removed safety equipment

A 27-year-old lineman electrocuted July 17 while changing out transformers in the Liberty Hill community had removed his insulated safety gloves before making contact with a live transmission line, according to multiple witnesses. ******************** NOTICE: This story and photo(s) are under copyright. They may not be republished or disseminated in any form or format – including social media – without explicit permission. ********************* Zachary Dean Cosby was in one of two extended buckets at the scene operated by Mastec, a contractor doing work for Southern Rivers Energy. David Edmondson was in the second bucket. They were changing out a transformer on a pole off Morgan Dairy Road just behind the Liberty Hill Community House. Edmondson saw Cosby remove his safety gloves to either loosen or tighten a small bolt or bolts, according to a statement he gave to Capt. Jake Sutton of the Lamar County sheriff’s office. Edmondson reported he saw a flash that was bright enough to discolor his safety equipment. He heard Edmondson collapse into his bucket and immediately called 911. The rest of the crew, William Hobberchalk, Tyler Hobberchalk and crew foreman Jason King, lowered Cosby’s bucket to the ground and removed him. He was unconscious and they started CPR. King confirmed Cosby had removed his safety gloves. First responders made an heroic effort to save Cosby who was taken by ambulance to Spalding Regional Medical Center where he was soon pronounced dead, according to coroner Jim Smith. The first 911 dispatch went out a 4:35 p.m. Barnesville city manager David Rose spent 20 years as a lineman for the city. He noted linemen in buckets are isolated from electricity like a bird on a power line. ‘People think we are insulated but we are isolated. Even a pinhole in a rubber glove can be deadly. It is drilled into linemen not to remove those gloves,’ Rose said. ’He (the victim) had to come into contact with phase to phase or phase to ground. I think it was probably phase to phase,’ Rose added. Such contact is almost always fatal, he said. After the accident, multiple SRE personnel arrived at the scene, including CEO Michael McMillan. Mastec was required by law to report the fatality within eight hours. OSHA has launched a standard investigation. Funeral arrangements for Cosby were made through Vance Memorial Chapel in Phenix City. ’The lineman community is tight-knit. This is something that hits home with all of us. We are all praying for that family,’ Rose concluded.

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