I’m Brandon Schroeder, a safety speaker from Marion, IA. I’ve also been an electrician for 19 years. On August 24, 2011, I survived an arc flash explosion that without a doubt should have killed me.
It was late in the day, and we were off in a half-hour. The general contractor asked me to relocate a temporary power feed that was running all of the electricity to the construction site. The task was simple: disconnect the cord, pull the cord though a doorway, and hook it back up.
But there were two problems. First, there was no main breaker on the panel, so the only way to shut off the power was to call the utility company. Second, about a week earlier, I let a co-worker borrow my arc flash suit. Early on in my career, no one wore arc flash suits, and until about five years before the accident, I had never seen one. But I had done way more dangerous tasks than this countless times – why couldn’t I do this?
I had a decision to make, and I made the wrong one.