Electrical Bird Nests of Death Worldwide

I just recently learned what the actual definition of a clusterfuck was, and I was also writing this gigantic post of these wiring birdnests of death that I just cannot stop researching.  Do you know how many people are estimated to have died just in the USA by OSHA in 2016?  I’m guessing their stats are a year or so behind, but construction and the Trades is a place we in Entertainment can look to take a cue on protecting ourselves and those around us.  Considering that energy-related accidents JUST IN THE UNITED STATES are two of the top ten violations of OSHA code, and with all of the renewed focus on workplace safety, I thought this would be a great time to post some absolutely horrifying images of some rat nest public utilities examples.  Bad wiring?  This doesn’t even begin to touch on bad wiring.

Just to hit on the fact that electrical violations are two of the top ten OSHA’s Most Cited, check this out — if you wanna count the number one citation and the number 6, that’s SIX that occur in our industry — I’ve highlighted those in red that are on the Top Ten that occur in our industry, undoubtedly people will argue that we have more than just these six as violations in Entertainment:

  1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501), “Duty to have Fall Protection”
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200), “Hazard Communication”
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451), “General Requirements
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134), “Respiratory Protection”
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147), “The Control of Hazardous Energy”
  6. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053), “Ladders”
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178), “Powered Industrial Trucks”
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212), “General Requirements for All Machines”
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503), “Training Requirements”
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305), “Wiring Methods, Components, and Equipment”

This is mind blowing!

I know we have all seen some crazy wiring in our time, and a lot of the things that we do create some crazy spaghetti of cabling and jumbleness that looks pretty bad, but take a look at these images and see if they give you the same hairs-on-the-arms-straight-up feeling they do for me.  I saw someone post a photo of a Pakistani public work utility pole in an industry related blog, and that began the search for imagery for me.  Check these out, this shit is absolutely incredible.

Click on any photo and it opens up into the attachment page in full size.

I’ve separated these into groups by location, each giving some creedence to some of the looks on these guys’ faces as they dig through these messes.  Let’s start with India…

India Cable Clusters of Catastrophe

Nothing to see here, just a massive mess of death.

This right here is just a nightmare. There is more NOPE in this photo than in most of these other photos!

A quick look into the last few minutes of this poor bastard’s life as he tries to find a place to patch in

Philippine Piles of Power Repose

Holy overhead nightmare!

Nothing to see here, move along, move along

Duterte executes drug traffickers, and Philippine linemen apparently

Pakistani Power Problems

One thing that is a major issue in Pakistan — actually two things — people stealing from the grid, and companies using completely inferior components and outdated transformer gear to keep the infrastructure going.  Some examples:

Who wants to go fishing around for the neutral in here?

An example of inferior infrastructure being used to power a grid in Peshawar. Schnikies!

Load sharing. More like blatant load stealing with a side order of potential death from fire or electrocution.

Oh, no, no no. No.

More load sharing in Pakistan. I can clearly say I don’t have the balls to attempt a patch on something like this like these folks have done.

Indonesian Idiocy and Inherent Death by Electrocution

“Hey Mike, you see that wire nut I dropped?” “What’s a wire nut?”

Nah, they’ll totally all fit. We did it on the last job.

That’s a Nope Cabinet.

Brazil’s Magical Mismanagement of Public Works Cabling and Favela Electrical Flow

I got diarrhea from this photo.

Cable management? Cable Mismanagement

For those days when you just “can’t even,” there’s Sao Paolo.

Y’all Ready for CHINA?

More “normal”

This is NORMAL Beijing public wiring. Nothing to see here, nothing to see…

Oh dear lord in Hebben

Hey, can you find that one cable I need?

Vicious Vietnamese Wiring and Laotian Electrocution

More wiring in Ho Chi Minh City, how shitty

Laos — where you too can accidentally die at work just by sneezing on the wrong wire

Northern Laos — public work in progress

Vietnamese Wiring Violence

Holy crap dude. More Vietnam


The elusive Vietnamese NOPE cluster. Is… is that a fan?!

Here’s a nice fun little cluster in Ho Chi Minh City

Wiring Outside a Mexican Venue

I found a few really bad shots of Mexican wiring, but these two right outside a not-to-be-named venue kinda took the cake for me.

Obviously this is the company tie-in for touring shows

This is seriously from outside of a little venue in Mexico City.

Thailand Takes the Electrical Taco

By far the worst photos I found were some of the ones from Pakistan, but Thailand takes a close second, with India taking third.  I mean, these are purely terrifying.

Bangkok, where wiring takes on another meaning

Don’t mind this guy, he’s just gonna tie in so he can charge his phone…

Have you ever heard of arc blast?

A rare sighting of a Thailand electrician in his natural habitat

Oh, no, no. You go ahead.

Wire bundles so thick they look like human hair

Tangled up electric wires on a street pole in Krabi town, Thailand

Are those merkin curls???

Phuket says “phuket” to electrical regulations

Nightmare of wiring in Phuket

The look on this guy’s face…

Anybody notice the approved bamboo ladders?

I’m exhausted just from looking at these!  Granted there are places in the US that look just like this, but it seems that our government likes to levy fines against really terrible wire clusters and the people who give birth to them, so there’s that.  Here’s a contractor job found in Nashville:

This resulted in a fire!


Hat tips:

Incandescent Traffic Lamp Manufacturers, Here’s Your Chance


When you live in a place that sees a lot of snow per year – let’s just say somewhere like Chicago or other places in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio – you would think that dealing with snow is something that is just accepted. Sometimes it snows sideways in the Midwest.  I remember being a kid and walking home from school covered only on one side with sticking snow, and having our house covered on one side with snow 6″ thick.  Snow fills up anything in its way when it’s blowing like that – stop signs, traffic lights, store signs, billboards, you name it.

There’s one thing that seems to have been forgotten when designing LED replacement lamps for traffic lights – snow. This is one time when incandescent traffic lights win over their energy-saving LED opponents.  The incandescent lamps melt the snow that accumulates on them for the most part, whereas the LEDs do not generate enough heat to clear themselves enough to be seen.  What is happening right now is that in order to clear the traffic lights of snow, a person has to go out and clean the snow off by hand, and as they do that it’s like the theoretical savings of  having “green” traffic lights goes out in the wind like a well-placed fart.

Several accidents and one death has occurred due to this “new” phenomenon of snow covering up traffic lights that have been converted to LED sources. Places in the Midwest (and around the world, I assume) are having to send teams of men out to remove snow from traffic lights.  I mean, what are you going to do, install heaters?  Do they even make heaters for that?  Again, kiss the energy savings goodbye.

Is this a huge “oh my GOD” kind of issue, sending people out to remove the snow? I don’t think so. It’s the accidents and death that bother me more than anything.  Most motorist, however, have treated the situation of snow-covered traffic lights with caution, which means that human beings are still at least a little intelligent.  From an article at Huffington Post:

In Minnesota, where authorities have upgraded hundreds of traffic lights to LEDs, the Transportation Department occasionally gets reports of an obstructed light. But by the time a highway crew arrives, the wind has often knocked out the snow and ice, said traffic systems specialist Jerry Kotzenmacher. Minnesota is experimenting with weather shields.

One reason there have been so few deaths is that drivers know they should treat a traffic signal with obstructed lights as a stop sign, traffic experts say.

“It’s the same as if the power is out,” said Dave Hansen, a traffic engineer with the Green Bay Department of Public Works. “If there’s any question, you err on the side of caution.”

What exactly does this LED traffic light epic fail mean?  I think this is a really interesting area and time where incandescent lights have basically lucked into a way to completely change everything about themselves and gain a little reputation back.  What needs to happen now is that incandescent lamp engineers and LED manufacturers both need to hit the drawing board and figure out how to make their products better.  Let us not forget the energy consumption factor of LED traffic lights compared to incandescent light expenditures:  nearly 89% savings by using LED lamps.

Look, I am a fan of light.  I am not going to pick sides completely against one source, whether it’s LEDs or incandescent lamps, or plasma lamps, or my freaking dry yard on fire to provide a source of light.  I criticize and celebrate what needs to be criticized and celebrated.  Right now (actually years ago), LED traffic lights have given a nice Christmas present to incandescent lamp manufacturers and allowed them a chance to redeem themselves.  So, incandescent lamp manufacturers, here’s your chance to shine.  Take a few moments at least to talk about that in a board meeting somewhere.

For the rest of us, treat a snow-covered traffic light as if there were an outage at that intersection.  Learn from other people’s misfortune to avoid it from happening again.

Thanks, Reuters, for the photo!