Missouri dock safety legislation advances in Senate
Drownings and injuries caused by electrocution are rare, but preventable Sen. Hummel says
JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation to prevent electrocution injuries and deaths on Missouri’s lakes took a significant step forward today as Senate Bill 297, sponsored by Sen. Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, was passed out of the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee this morning on a unanimous, bipartisan vote. The bill moved forward with a committee substitute, which removes the swimming prohibitions and penalty provisions.
“Any death is a tragedy, especially when caused by the rare, but quite serious, accident of electric shock drowning,” Sen. Hummel said. “This is an issue that can be addressed by increasing the availability of electrical safety inspections, and I sincerely appreciate the work of my fellow legislators, Ameren Electric, and Missouri families who have helped move this bill forward.”
Senate Bill 297 establishes the Alexandra and Brayden Anderson Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Act, named for two Missouri children who died on July 4, 2012, from electric shock drowning while swimming near a dock at the Lake of the Ozarks.
This legislation would require all primary patrol lake boats operated by the Water Patrol Division of the State Highway Patrol to be equipped with an automatic external defibrillator and staffed by at least one person trained to use the equipment. This act also requires all water patrol officers to be trained in rescuing victims of electrocution injuries and the use of external defibrillator devices on such victims.
Additionally, this legislation would require, beginning Sept. 15, 2017, electrical inspections to be required for all new construction of docks, modifications of existing docks, and for all changes and transfers in ownership of docks with electricity. The inspections would be performed by a licensed electrical contractor, county permitting authority, or fire protection district employee and documented in writing.
Senator Hummel says, “This legislation will help to prevent electric shock drowning so the Lake of the Ozarks, and all lakes in Missouri, can continue to be enjoyable and relaxing destinations for boating, swimming and fishing.”