Electricity is the foundation for modern industry. Businesses of all sizes and functions require electrical power in order to provide goods and services to the public, while individual households require electrical power for everything from preparing food to preserving it in the fridge.
With the ubiquitous presence of electricity comes the risk for people to suffer electrical injuries on the job. Some electrocution injuries lead to death, while others cause burns and lasting medical issues. There are many ways that a worker could wind up electrocuted because of exposure to electricity, and learning about some of them can help keep you safer.
Installing electrical systems or working with temporary wiring
As you can probably imagine, the professionals who install, maintain, repair and upgrade electrical wiring are at high risk for accidental electrocution while on the job. The same is true for those working in situations where they have to power the job site with temporary wiring. Construction workers will commonly have to deal with temporary electrical supply as part of their job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies wiring as a major risk for workers. Contact with wiring, transformers or outlets causes 34% of nonfatal electrocutions.
Working in close proximity to wiring or machinery
If you frequently have to work with machinery, electrical equipment or even computers, the potential exists for something to partially disconnect or for wiring to fray. Exposed wires and partially unplugged devices can pose a significant risk to workers.
About 36% of non-fatal electrocutions are the result of electricity moving through a machine, appliance or light fixture. Assuming that devices or machinery no longer have an active power supply is also the second leading cause of fatal electrocutions on the job.
Contact with power supply is a major risk factor
When it comes to fatal electrocutions, accidental contact with power lines is a major source of risk. About 42% of all fatalities due to electrocution involve someone contacting overhead power lines. Another 1% of electrocution deaths result from contact with underground lines. Underground lines also cause 2% of non-fatal electrical injuries to workers.
Workers hurt by electricity will typically need workers’ compensation to cover their medical care and lost wages, while family members who lose a loved one to an electrocution may also have the right to certain benefits. Getting help with seeking those benefits can make the process of securing compensation simpler and less stressful for injured workers and grieving families.