Power tools and heavy machinery make your construction job much easier. It’s nice to let the machines do the hard work—especially compared to doing it with just your muscles.
Modern technology may make manual labor somewhat easier, but it also brings new dangers. The electrical equipment you use also has a chance of shocking you.
Fatal electrocutions mostly affect construction workers
Hundreds of workers in the construction industry suffer shocks every year. In 2016, over half of all the fatal electric shock injuries in the United States happened to construction workers. Younger workers especially are at risk—they are up to 2.3 times more likely to suffer a fatal electrocution injury than workers age 45 and up.
If you are a younger construction worker, these statistics might worry you. How can you avoid an electrocution?
Preparedness is key in preventing injuries
The most important way to reduce electrical hazards is to be familiar with the equipment that causes them. You need to know how to properly use your tools and how to recognize any problems that could lead to an electrical injury. To keep yourself safe from a fatal electrocution, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends:
- Insulating all electrical cords
- Enclosing electrical equipment with fences or even in separate rooms
- Grounding tools and systems to prevent a buildup of voltage that could shock someone
- Using fuses and circuit breakers to stop the flow of current in an emergency
- Tagging out any defective equipment
- Staying away from electrical equipment if you are not supposed to be using it
- Wearing rubber insulated protective gear
- Training employees on use of electrical equipment
Working with construction machinery may be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if something is defective. If you were injured by an electrical hazard on the job, you may have legal recourse to seek compensation from your employer.