Tennessee Construction Injury Law: Electrocution
Electrocution can occur any time an individual is exposed to a high enough voltage of electrical energy. In the construction industry, electrical hazards are classified by an electrical condition which places someone at risk of arc flashes or blasts, burns, electrocution, fires or explosions. The attorneys at InjuryTN have spent more than 25 years protecting the rights of those injured in construction accidents in Middle Tennessee.
According to a recent study published by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration, electrocutions make up almost 10% of all construction worker fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This study recorded at least 1 in 100,000 construction workers suffering a fatal injury while working on-site. This means that annually, more than 100 electrocutions occur on job site across the U.S. The majority of the individuals who suffered fatally worked installing and repairing electrical power or earth drilling.
Construction Site Electrocutions
While such electrical accidents could happen in any number of different industries, construction-related occupations tend to have the greatest number of fatalities caused by electrocution year after year. Actually, electrocution ranks fourth in most common causes of fatality among workers in construction, following serious falls, transportation accidents, and being stricken by flying objects or equipment.
For construction site electrocutions, the biggest risk factors may include some the following:
- Direct contact with power lines (either overhead or underground)
- Improper use of extension cords
- Electrical equipment which is not in adequate condition
- Improperly labeled wiring
- Poorly insulated wires
- Inadequately grounded circuits
- Use of broken power tools
- Exposed electrical parts
- Electricity that was left on after work ended
- Inappropriate use of tools or equipment
- Overloading circuits
- Misidentifying buried power lines
Additionally, all of the aforementioned dangers and risks are worsened when conditions become damp or wet.
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If you or someone you love has been injured in an electrical accident, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us by phone or online to set up your free initial consultation.
Important Safety Factors on Construction Sites
The majority of such conditions are distinguished by three different categories: unsafe work practices, unsafe environments, and unsafe installation or equipment. That’s why contractors and site supervisors owe a duty of care in maintaining the safety of all workers on the site at any time. Typically this is accomplished by utilizing adequate insulation, grounding, protection, and safety devices for any electrical components in addition to providing adequate training for best practices.
Insulation such as plastic, glass, and more commonly rubber will help in reducing an electrical current’s flow.
Grounding is a practice used to prevent voltage from building up and injuring someone by dispersing some of the flow of an electrical system’s current into the earth. Now, while this may not guarantee that a shock will not occur, it can considerably reduce the risk of catastrophic injuries.
Guarding is often utilized to encase electrical equipment safely so that others may not unintentionally come into contact with it. This may require confining electrical systems to elevated locations, posting prominent screens which impede the entryway, and clearly marked warnings for dangerous conditions.
Additionally, accidents involving electricity are completely preventable when workers exercise appropriate lockout and tag out practices any time they work with electrical equipment as well as machinery. These procedures involve locking the apparatus or source of power, stopping the machine from being activated during the time when service or maintenance is in progress. Additionally, laborers should indicate that the machinery should not be turned on by placing a tag on the locked device. When such rules are adhered to, the risk of electrocution is significantly diminished.
OSHA’s Latest Updates on Electrical Hazard Prevention
Initially, the standards for Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution were established in 1972 to help in preventing electrical accidents. Due to the serious and pervasive nature of electrical accidents, a recent update was added to this decades-old standard. This update generally took effect in July of 2014, and full compliance was expected of businesses in the industry by April of 2015.
This addition included new and updated specifications for personal protective equipment, such as fall protectors, arc-flash protection, and minimum approach distances. Reports from the Administration estimate nearly 20 construction workers’ lives will be saved and over 100 severe injuries will be prevented annually by these new standards.
Experienced Tennessee Construction Accident Attorneys
For those who have sustained injuries caused by electricity on the job, workers’ compensation is typically made available. The accomplished personal injury attorneys at InjuryTN have been helping our clients secure such benefits, as well as working to identify any other possible avenues of acquiring compensation. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial and confidential case evaluation with an experienced TN construction accident lawyer. You pay no costs or fees until we win.