The construction industry is a dangerous field for employees. There is a reason that when you envision a construction worker, he or she is usually decked out in safety gear, such as the notable yellow hardhat and orange safety vest. Construction sites are littered with hazards. These hazards can lead to serious injuries that may very well prove fatal.
OSHA has determined that there are four main safety hazards on construction sites that lead to the highest number of construction worker fatalities each year. These hazards are referred to as the “Fatal Four.” Electrocutions, along with falls, being struck by objects and getting caught in between hazards, make up the Fatal Four. Electrocution is ranked as the third-highest cause of construction worker fatalities.
What Are the Leading Causes of Electrocutions on Construction Sites?
Simply put, electrocution is death by electric shock. The electrocution victim is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Once the person is exposed to electrical energy, his or her body acts as a conductor. The electricity flows through the body like it would in power lines. Even if exposure to electrical energy does not prove to be fatal, a person can still suffer devastating injuries. In addition to fatal electrocution, OSHA recognizes that electrical injuries may also include burns, electrical shock, and injuries sustained when a person falls due to an electrical shock. An electrical shock can cause both internal and external damage requiring immediate medical attention.
Potential causes for electrocution and electrical injuries are many on a construction site. There are electrical hazards littered over construction sites. Power tools, heavy machinery, electrical cords, and power lines are all found on construction sites and they all present the threat of electrocution to workers present, especially when the proper safety precautions are not observed. Among those who suffer electrical injuries each year, construction workers account for a substantial portion of this group.
The National Fire Protection Association reported that, based on data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, close to 60% of electrocutions were the result of direct contact with electricity. A construction worker may come into contact with an exposed electrical wire or receive an electric shock by using a defective piece of equipment. Construction workers are also at risk of electrocution because of working in close proximity to power lines, both overhead and underground. The misuse of extension cords is also a prominent risk for electrocution on a construction site.
Without the proper use of safety equipment and everyone on a construction site observing the proper safety protocol when working around electrical sources, construction workers can suffer fatal electrical injuries all too easily. Faulty equipment or unsafe tools can produce lethal electrical consequences. Equipment should be properly maintained and always inspected for any potential defects that may jeopardize the safety of workers. Live wires should always be properly grounded. All areas of the construction site should be properly lit and the construction zone should be visibly marked. These safety measures can save lives.
Construction Site Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to obtain compensation for that which you have suffered. The dedicated injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy help clients obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today.