Construction Workers at High Risk For Electrocution Injuries and Death

On its “Fatal Four” list of the top four causes of construction deaths nationwide, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ranks electrocutions as number three. Each year, electrocutions account for 350 construction deaths, or 8.3% of all construction fatalities. Looked at another way, at least one construction worker dies almost every day from an electrocution injury. Keep in mind that as few as 50 milliamps of electricity flowing through your body can kill you. Most of the common electrical tools and equipment you work with on a daily basis contain 15-20 amperes of electricity, far above the lethal amount.

Electrocution Injuries

In addition to deaths, electrocutions cause 61% of construction injuries each year. You face a particular risk of receiving one of these injuries if you are a person between the ages of 35 and 44, a construction laborer or a construction electrician. The type and severity of your electrical injury depends on several factors, including the following:

  • What type of electrical current entered your body
  • Its amount of voltage
  • Which part(s) of your body received the shock
  • How your body resisted the shock
  • How long your body remained exposed to the current

Electrocution Causes

Common causes of construction site electrocution injuries include the following:

  • Malfunctioning electrical tools or equipment
  • Short circuits
  • Improperly connected extension cords
  • Metal ladders coming into contact with overhead power lines
  • Ungrounded electrical cords
  • Frayed or damaged electrical cords
  • Breaks in the insulation surrounding electrical wires
  • Improperly maintained electrical tools or equipment
  • Failure to wear insulating gloves and other protective gear

Electrical Burns

An electrocution invariably burns not only your skin, but also the tissues deep underneath your skin. The electrical current can also stop your heart and cause other severe internal organ damage. This is why it’s critical to obtain immediate emergency medical assistance after an electrocution.

Your second-, third- and fourth-degree burns likely will require you to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital burn unit. Here you likely will have to undergo numerous painful debridement treatments, i.e., the removal of damaged or dead tissue from your wound. You may also require surgery, especially skin grafts, to minimize the damage caused by your burns.

Electrocution Aftermath

Despite the best medical treatment, however, your burns may well leave lasting disfiguring scars. In addition to having to deal with this physical catastrophe, you also likely will have to deal with the financial catastrophe of medical bills that can add up all too quickly. 

As a Construction Accident Lawyer from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. would advise their clients, your best strategy after sustaining work-related electrocution burns consists of contacting an experienced local construction accident lawyer who can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible from your employer, and possibly from the manufacturer of the electrical equipment that electrocuted you.

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