What do I do if I am electrocuted on the job?
Construction sites pose one of the most dangerous work environments in the United States, with nearly 1 in 5 worker deaths occurring within the construction sector.
According to OSHA, the four leading causes of injury and death on construction sites account for well over half of all construction worker deaths. These hazards are referred to as the “Fatal Four” and preventing them would save hundreds of lives in the United States each year.
Electrocution is the fourth leading cause of death on construction sites (approximately 10% of all fatal construction site accidents) and is considered part of the Fatal Four that OSHA strives to eliminate.
Electrical hazards pose a serious workplace danger that exposes workers to burns, electrocution, shock, arc flash, fire, or explosions.
OSHA encapsulates these hazards with the acronym BE SAFE:
B = Burns
A burn is the most common shock related injury on a construction site.
E = Electrocution
Electrocution is a fatal accident, meaning to be killed by electricity.
S = Shock
Shocks occur when a body becomes part of the electrical circuit, where the current enters through one part and exits through another.
A = Arc Flash
An arc flash is the sudden release of electrical energy through the air that occurs when a high-voltage gap exists.
F = Fire
Most fires caused by electrical hazards are due to faulty electrical outlets and old wiring.
E = Explosions
An explosion can occur when electricity ignites an explosive mixture of material in the air.
All of these are hazards posed by electricity on a construction site, but the majority of accidents involve the risk of electrocution, and the potential for shocks and burns. Electrical accidents pose a risk not just to electricians and those working directly with electricity, but also to construction laborers, supervisors, and anyone working on or around a construction site.
Avoiding Electrical Accidents
While OSHA has designated safety procedures that workplaces must follow in regards to exposure to electrical hazards, it is imperative that every worker take a proactive role in identifying and avoiding these hazards on the job.
High voltage electrical accidents often lead to serious injury or death, so you should be aware of areas that pose a greater risk.
– Be sure to maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines. It’s also important to make sure that heavy equipment is located out of reach of power lines, and/or that the utility company has de-energized or installed insulated sleeves on nearby power lines.
– Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A GFCI detects ground faults and is designed to protect the worker by limiting the duration of electrical shock.
– Inspect portable tools and extension cords prior to beginning work, as they may be damaged, cut, or have exposed wiring due to the nature of construction sites.
What to Do Following an Electrical Accident
Thankfully, New York Labor Laws are in place to protect workers on the job and there is a state regulated system for injured workers called workers’ compensation which will help cover lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation, and permanent disability.
If you’ve been shocked, burned, or suffered from any type of injury due to electrical hazards on the job, your first step is to seek medical attention. The written documentation from a medical professional is crucial to filing a successful workers’ compensation claim or seeking out any additional compensation.
Following your accident, be sure to document all the details you can remember about what happened, including the time, date, location, circumstances, any potential witnesses, weather conditions, and more. Photographic documentation of any injuries or burns you may have received from your electrical accident will also further bolster any claim.
The best way to ensure the you receive the compensation you deserve is to speak with one of our experienced construction accident attorneys at Greenberg & Stein. Our team has more than 75 years of combined experience and has handled all manner of construction site accident claims, including wrongful death from electrocution, and severe injuries and burns caused by electrical accidents and faulty equipment.
We offer free, 24/7 legal consultations and can walk you through what legal options and recourses are available to you following an electrical accident on the job. If you need guidance following your workplace injury, then contact us today at 888-411-3966.