Tennessee Construction Injury Law: Electrical Shock
Electricity is a necessary source of energy for all modern life, and is essential for the continuity of tasks in such great numbers that one could forget how essential it really is. However, as innocuous as it may seem, it deserves the duty of care for the inherent risks and dangers it poses, especially for workers on construction sites. The construction accident attorneys at InjuryTN know that electricity has frequently been a considerable hazard on construction sites due to its nature of exposing laborers to the risk of electrocution or electrical shock, fires and burns.
On construction sites, the risk of electrocution or electrical shock will almost always be present, however, these risks can be mitigated by taking the proper precautions around all electrical equipment and power sources. While engineers, electricians, and others who handle electrical work are directly exposed to electricity, there will still be numerous other workers on the site who will be exposed to these risks indirectly.
What is Electrical Shock?
Under normal conditions, electricity will be moved through a conductor inside a closed circuit. Electrical shock occurs when the human body comes in direct contact with that electricity, creating and completing a new electrical circuit. This electrical current will enter through the body at one location and exit the body at another.
According to OSHA’s Construction eTool on Electrical Incidents, electrical shock of this kind will typically occur in one of three ways:
- Individuals coming into direct contact with two wires of a live circuit
- Individual coming into direct contact with one live wire and the ground
- Individual coming into direct contact with a metal component which is in contact with a live wire at the time the individual comes into contact with the circuit’s ground
Occasionally, these individuals may only feel a slight tingle, which can be alarming, but is usually harmless. In other instances, this shock may be extremely painful, cause the individual to lose control of muscle movement, or result in any number of severe bodily damages, and, in some cases, even death. In the event of a fatality as a result of the electrical shock, this incident would be classified as an electrocution.
Sometimes, such incidents may not become immediately noticeable to onlookers, other workers, or even the victim. It is because of this danger that those involved in electrical shock incidents should seek out medical help, regardless of how insignificant or harmless the incident may appear.
The seriousness of the shock will be dependent upon numerous different factors, including the following:
- The amount of electrical current which flowed through the body
- The electrical current’s path through the victim’s body
- Voltage level
- Presence of moisture
- Stage of the heart’s cycle when the incident occurs
- Overall health of the victim
Remember that with electrical currents, there will always be present danger, even if the voltage of a power source being worked on is low. If a victim is unable to remove themselves from the path of an electrical current, even if the voltage is low, the electricity can cause some serious bodily damage.
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If you have been involved in a construction accident with electrical equipment, you need to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.
Dangers of Electricity on Construction Sites
Although working in close proximity to electricity poses inherent dangers of injury and death, construction sites will commonly be littered with exposed, overhead, and buried wiring as well as power lines and the routine utilization of power tools and other dangerous equipment.
According to a recent publication from OSHA regarding working safely with electricity on construction sites, as well as how to prevent electrical incidents altogether.
- Direct contact with power lines – Workers on construction sites who handle heavy machinery and equipment are at a much higher risk of coming into contact with dangerous power lines which may be underground or overhead.
- Power lines that are buried may be uninsulated and carry tens of thousands of volts, creating extreme danger for those working in proximity.
- Companies should always reach out to utilities to confirm the location of power lines, both overhead and underground.
- All laborers working on-site should be sure to maintain a distance exceeding ten feet from any power lines. Additionally, power lines should always be considered live and dangerous.
- All ground lines need to be disconnected from their power source when anyone is working in close proximity to them and ladders used in the area should be wooden or fiberglass.
- Generators – Construction sites will commonly utilize electrical generators prior to the primary electrical operations being set up and running. Such mechanical apparatuses generate electricity, which poses an inherent threat to the safety of those in its proximity.
- Generators should always remain outdoors, as ventilation is essential to their safe operation.
- Construction workers should always ensure that the main circuit breaker is not on and is locked out before each use. This will help prevent accidental activation of power lines from back-feeding electrical power, which has the potential to injure workers.
- Tools & Equipment – Ordinary use of electrical tools and other equipment in construction carries the potential to produce unintentional exposure to short circuits, wires, and insulation breakage, which poses the threat of electrical shock to those working near them.
- All tools and equipment in use should always have double-insulation as well as proper labeling.
- Any electrical equipment needs to be thoroughly inspected before each use, and all equipment which may be damaged, have missing parts, or be generally unfit for use should either be repaired or retired from service and replaced.
- Exposed electrical components – Barriers need to be utilized on all open wire and breaker boxes that need a replacement cover.
- Conductors whose path of flow leads to boxes and electrical cabinets need to have safety coverings.
Tennessee Construction Accident Attorneys
For those who have endured an electrical shock could have other options aside from workers’ compensation to recoup coverage for lost wages and medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering endured. Our team of legal experts is ready to help you protect your rights and acquire the compensation you deserve. Contact our attorneys at (615) 640-HURT or fill out a form online to get started on your case today. You pay no costs or fees unless we win your case.