Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
Electrocution accidents are some of the most common and deadly accidents that can take place at a construction site. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that a total of 350 electric shock fatalities happen on construction sites every year, and that thousands more construction workers are injured in non-fatal electrocution and electric shock accidents. Some electrocution accidents on construction sites are purely accidental and could not have been prevented, while others are caused by defective tools or equipment, or the negligence or carelessness of an employer or general contractor. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or been killed in an electrocution accident, contact a construction accident attorney today for legal help.
Common Causes of Electrocution Accidents
One of the primary causes of construction site electrocution fatalities is accidental contact with overhead power lines, followed by construction workers coming into contact with electrical components such as transformers or underground wiring. Construction workers most at risk for electrocution injuries are those who perform their jobs on scaffolding or in cranes near overhead power lines. In addition to the danger of electrocution itself, electrocution and electric shock accidents also pose a serious risk for other injuries, including burns and falls caused by contact with electrical energy.
OSHA Safety Protocol for Preventing Electrocution Accidents
Electric shock occurs when the body comes in contact with an electric current, and the severity of the resulting injury depends on the voltage, current and duration of exposure. Electrocution is defined as death caused by contact with an electric current. Construction workers are at risk of electrocution accidents and electric shock injuries whenever they are exposed to cables or machines carrying an electric current. To minimize this risk, OSHA has established safety precautions for employers and workers to follow, including:
- Scaffolds must be at least 10 feet from electric power lines at all times
- Cranes must operate at least 10 feet from electric power lines at all times
- Avoid using ladders with metallic components near electrical work and overhead power lines
- Be sure that workers wear hard hats where there is a potential for accidental head contact with electrical hazards
- Safety glasses or face shields should be worn when exposed to any electrical hazards
- Workers should wear insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards
Employers and general contractors should always follow safety regulations when workers are at risk of electrocution accidents, to avoid serious complications like internal injury, respiratory distress, muscular spasm and cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, when employers cut corners and ignore safety protocol to save time and money, they put the lives of workers at risk on a daily basis.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Electrocution Accidents
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places, and everyday hazards in the construction industry are only compounded when a workplace or construction site is not up to code. In some cases, an electrocution is a result of unsafe working conditions or safety oversights by supervisors and foremen. Unfortunately, under these circumstances, a fatality may have been avoided had proper attention been paid to OSHA’s safety precautions. On-the-job electrocution accidents are devastating for fellow workers and family members left behind, and can also result in a significant loss of income if the deceased was the main wage earner for his or her family. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are available for survivors and dependents of a construction worker killed in an electrocution accident. With the help of an experienced construction accident attorney, those who lost their loved one in a construction site accident can pursue death benefits for the associated expenses and lost wages.
Consult a Construction Accident Attorney Today
Electrocution and electric shock injuries are one of the primary risks construction workers face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this risk could be avoided in many cases if the appropriate safety measures were taken my employers and general contractors. If you have suffered an electric shock injury, or if you lost a loved one in an electrocution accident on a construction site, contact a construction accident attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party liability claim to pursue compensation for your medical bills and loss of income. Construction sites are dangerous enough as it is without employers adding unnecessary risks by ignoring safety precautions and forcing workers to operate in an unsafe work environment. With a qualified construction accident lawyer on your side, you can protect your legal rights and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.