Electrical accidents rate among the leading causes of injuries caused in construction sites these days. Most fatalities caused this way are shown to have been preventable, if only a person or persons had done their job properly. That means they failed to follow the OSHA regulations in place regarding electrical safety.
An attorney handling a case of this sort could help injured workers legally pursue and secure the compensation they are owed. An electrocution lawsuit, if litigated sufficiently well, can win the victims enough restitution to cover their losses in the way of medical expenses, loss of future earnings, lost wages, etc., by proving beyond doubt that the defendant was responsible for these losses.
Electrocution Happening on Construction Sites
Electrocution ranks fourth among occupational injury death causes in the country. Millions of construction workers die every year as a result of malfunctioning equipment, faulty power lines, and underground wires. Such deaths also constitute a significant portion of the ones occurring at construction sites, with research showing “live” wiring and electrical machinery as the main culprit in over half of the cases.
It stands to reason that such situations, and consequent injury or death, could have been avoided by properly locking out or de-energizing equipment and circuits before work began. A competent wrongful death attorney would work to ensure that victims or their survivors receive their just entitlements under state law.
Electrical Injury Types
As per the classification put forward by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, electrical injuries can be classified into the following four types.
- Electrical Burns:In this type of injury, the current burns the victim’s tissue while coursing through their body
- Falls Resulting From Electric Shock: When a person loses muscle control from an electric shock or an explosion, and this results in them falling from platforms
- Electrical Shock: Current of strength as low as 50 volts can result in muscle spasms capable of stopping a person’s heart, and temporarily halting breathing
- Fatal Electrocution – An electrical injury of such severity that it brings about multi-organ failure as well as, in some cases, death.
Electrocution Deaths at a Construction Site
- Electrocution figures inside the “fatal four” when it concerns workers in the construction industry. It causes over half of the worker deaths that occur in the country.
- Live machinery and wiring, and electrical sources, have almost consistently landed among the top OSHA violations cited.
- Since construction workers normally come in contact with energized equipment and sources a lot, there is constant danger of electrocution which needs to be factored in.
Causes of Electrocution at a Construction Site
Of the OSHA violations cited with regard to construction sites, improper electrical equipment and circuitry grounding is one of the most common ones. The following factors have been shown to majorly play into construction electrocution deaths.
- Lack of fault circuit interrupters
- Shock caused by underground power lines
- Direct contact with power lines running overhead
- Touching a live power source, lighting fixture, or transformers
- Improperly installed electrical wiring and equipment
- Touching live parts on machinery or appliances
- Touching exposed conductors
- Being exposed to faulty equipment
There has been some progress with regard to reducing the number of electrocutions that occur on construction sites, but significant additional efforts are required to make sure no one gets injured.
The Long-Term Effects
A lot of constructions workers who sustain electrical shock or burns are forced to see their quality of life decline after the fact. Many find it impossible to earn at the same income level, and consequently, to support their families. Several irreversible problems such as loss of hearing and vision, nerve damage, brain injury, cardiovascular problems, etc., fall into the list of long-term consequences resulting from an electrical injury. The following factors often determine how severe said injury would be.
- Voltage level of the current
- The amount of time for which the worker was in contact with the current
- Whether or not there was conductive moisture present on the person’s body, or in the environment
- The injured person’s current heart cycle at the time of the incident
Many construction site electrocution incidents are followed by the injured worker suing the company or an employee for compensation, which covers their medical expenses as well as loss of income. Investigations may be conducted from the premises liability perspective, and legal action can be taken based on that. The employer is legally required to reduce hazards using means such as maintenance, proper training, inspections, and replacements.
Workers who are injured while working would be eligible to pursue and win significant compensation. In the case of shock-induced death, the family of the victim can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, and if they win, get awarded compensation seen as sufficient by the court.