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Weed eaters and fiberglass security light poles don’t get along!

Posted 4/1/2016

by David Akin—Safety and Training Coordinator with EMEPA 


Editor’s note: This is a true story I heard while on a recent consultation visit. It was written for this publication by the cooperative’s safety and training coordinator so that everyone in this insurance program could learn from his unusual experience. I hope you find it illuminating! 


It was a cool damp day in December with light northernly winds the day I received a call from one of our members. The member proceeded to inform me that a security light pole had fallen on her new car and she was very upset about it, as anyone could imagine. I told her not to go near the car and immediately dispatched a serviceman to the site to see what had happened. The serviceman called me and told me that there was a 20 ft. fiberglass security light pole with a town and country light fixture that had in fact fallen on the hood of her car. I went out to join him to try and figure out what had caused this odd event. 

After de-energizing the light and removing it off of the car we started our investigation as to why the pole fell. It was evident that a vehicle did not come into contact with the pole because of the absence of tire tracks in the soft ground. As we pondered on the fact that fiberglass doesn’t rot, that the weather was mild and we had no other damage in our service area due to wind, and that it seemed that nothing had come into contact with the pole that morning, we began talking to the member and asking her some questions. 

The member began to tell me about her neighbor. It seems that she has a very good neighbor that likes to cut her grass when she cuts her own because it makes the duplex housing area look good. The member proceeded to tell me that her neighbor weed–eaters her yard twice a week and that she is very consistent about it. Aha! After close examination, we determined that the constant wear and tear at the base of the pole caused by the weed-eater erosion had removed enough material away that it weakened the integrity of the pole over time until finally it failed. As the serviceman set about replacing the pole, I told our member that we would put some type of guard at the base of the pole to prevent this from happening again. 


What a story. It goes to show that anything that can happen, will happen! Ed.