Electrical injuries pose a significant risk to workers on construction sites. Each year, hundreds of people lose their lives in electrical accidents, and construction workers are particularly vulnerable. These injuries not only result in fatalities but can also cause severe damage to the body, resulting in long-term consequences. Here’s what you should know about electrical injuries on construction sites.
Common electrical injuries
Electrical injuries can occur on nearly any construction site. Workers must take care to comply with all safety precautions and procedures. This helps prevent common electrical injuries, such as:
- Flash burns: Arc flashes generate intense heat and light, resulting in severe burns to workers in close proximity to the electrical discharge.
- Burns from ignited clothing: When an arc flash ignites a worker’s clothing, it can lead to extensive burns and potentially life-threatening injuries.
- Internal organ damage: Direct contact with high-voltage sources can damage the heart, central nervous system and other internal organs, posing a serious threat to workers’ health.
- Injuries from falls: Electric shocks can cause workers to lose balance and fall from heights, leading to further injuries and complications.
How to prevent electrical injuries
Preventing electrical injuries is the key to ensuring worker health and safety. Common precautions may include:
- De-energize high-voltage lines or post barricades: Proper precautions should be taken to ensure that high-voltage lines are de-energized or clearly marked with barricades to prevent accidental contact.
- Ground low-voltage electrical systems: Ensuring that low-voltage electrical systems are properly grounded reduces the risk of electrical accidents.
- Operate power tools away from combustion engines: Electric power tools should be used away from areas with combustion engines or the presence of flammable materials.
- Inspect power cords: Regularly inspect power cords for signs of wear and tear, such as fraying, and replace them promptly to avoid accidents.
- Implement lockout and tagout procedures: Adequate training on lockout/tagout procedures should be provided to workers to ensure that equipment is de-energized during maintenance and not in use.
Liability for electrical injuries on construction sites
While workers’ compensation generally covers on-the-job injuries, there are situations where third parties may be held liable for electrical accidents.
These parties often include contractors, subcontractors, building owners and manufacturers of defective equipment. For example, if inadequate insulation or safety features in power tools or equipment contribute to an accident, the manufacturers or dealers may be held responsible for resulting injuries.
Workers who suffer electrical injuries on construction sites are usually eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost income—but if negligence by a third party caused the accident, the injured worker can file a third-party personal injury claim to seek additional damages.
Discuss your electrical injury with an Ohio personal injury lawyer
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your electrical injury case. When you’re the victim of negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (877) 614-9524 so that I can evaluate your case right away.