People who aren't especially familiar with the construction industry might not realize how often workers are exposed to electrical hazards. In fact, construction workers are the victims of over half of all workplace electrical fatalities.
Construction involves installing, repairing and inspecting electrical fixtures and equipment. Most electrical injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, are caused by workers coming into contact with machines, overhead power lines, tools and equipment. Even metallic objects can cause an electrical injury.
Working around electricity doesn't have to be hazardous. However, workers need to be properly trained to identify and minimize potential hazards. It's also important not to take on a task for which you don't have the appropriate experience.
In addition to the overhead power lines and damaged equipment and tools, following are some of the most common electrical hazards faced by workers:
- Inadequate wiring
- Overloaded circuits
- Improper grounding
- Damaged insulation
- Exposed electrical parts
- Wet conditions
The risks of all of these hazards can be mitigated if workers know what they're doing. One key to preventing injuries like electrocution is to stay within your area of expertise while on a job.
Sometimes, however, experience leads to complacency. It's always wise to have a checklist of electrical safety practices handy and to use it. Don't just rely on your memory.
Those in charge of worksites have an obligation to all employees to ensure that proper safety practices are followed and that people aren't expected to do something for which they aren't properly trained.
If you have lost a loved one to a fatal workplace electrical injury, it's essential to make sure that the incident is properly investigated. If it could and should have been prevented by individuals or entities responsible for the site, find out about your options for seeking compensation that can help you and your family as you move forward without your loved one.