Without the help of electricians, businesses and homes across the country would not be able to function. Electricians are crucial to the professional and personal daily operations of millions of Americans, but the job also comes with serious and surprising risks.
Electrocution is likely the most well known risk electricians face in the performance of their duties, and for good reason. However, while many people think the risk of electrocution is mostly relevant for electricians, the reality is that thousands of workers are exposed to the risk of electrocution everyday. Workplace electrocutions account for over 400 deaths each year, and are the fourth leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Electrocution occurs when a worker comes in contact with a live electrical circuit. Electrocution can cause a variety of life-threatening injuries including burns, irregular heartbeat, and trouble breathing among others.
How Often Do Electrocutions Happen?
On any given day, between 5 and 10 accidental contacts with electrical accidents are reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA); and, while not all of these result in catastrophic injury or death, they often require medical attention.
While electricians are the most likely to be electrocuted, other workers like welders, roofers, ironworkers, cement workers, machine technicians, and drillers can also come in contact with live wires and suffer workplace electrocution injuries.
For electricians, frequent exposure to electrical equipment and wires can cause electrocutions. For other workers, overhead power lines, machinery and appliances, and energized objects are the most common sources of electrocution.
Electrocutions can cause a variety of different injuries depending on the voltage, duration of exposure, and pathway of the current. While some injuries are less severe, many others can have devastating effects for the victim.
Electrocution Symptoms Can Include:
- Broken bones
- Heart attack
- Trouble swallowing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Trouble breathing
While some electrical burns may appear minor, they could be hiding much more serious injuries underneath the surface like damage to the heart or brain.
Surprising Dangers Electricians Face
In addition to electrocution, electricians are at risk for a variety of other severe workplace injuries. Some surprising dangers electricians face can include:
- Exposure to chemicals – Substances like lead, solvents, solder, and other materials are often present on an electrician’s worksite. Inhalation or skin contact can cause serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention.
- UV radiation – Electricians can also suffer from welding-related injuries from UV radiation where long-term exposure to the UV light produced by welding can damage the eyes.
- Mold, fungi, and bacteria – Electrical components in homes and businesses are often located in damp rooms where electricians will be exposed to mold, fungi, and bacteria. Because mold thrives in humid climates, electricians in Texas are particularly vulnerable to this form of toxic exposure.
- Asbestos – The carcinogenic material asbestos was a common building material used in homes and business built before the 1990s. Electricians working in old buildings need to take special precautions to avoid inhalation of dangerous asbestos fibers, which can cause mesothelioma.
- Working alone – When an electrician cannot be seen or heard by another worker, they cannot call for help in the event of an injury or emergency.
There are steps all electricians can take to reduce the likelihood of a workplace accident, but they cannot work safely without the help of their employer. Employers have a responsibility to provide safety equipment and safety training to reduce the dangers electricians face. When employers fail to do so, they put their workers at risk.
Contact Electrocution Accident Attorney Ted Liggett
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their employees through posting appropriate warning signs, providing adequate training, and hiring competent workers. If an employer fails to adhere to safety standards and workers are injured as a result, the employer can be held legally accountable.
If your employer’s negligence and disregard for safety standards caused you or someone you love an electrocution injury, call the Lubbock work accident lawyers at Liggett Law Group today for a Free Consultation. We help Texas workers obtain compensation for injuries on the job.