The electrical trades are a skilled profession. Professional electricians often practice their vocation for years before being hired to perform major jobs, and rightly so. Electricity is not a force to be treated frivolously, and the cost of mistakes is high. But electricians and other construction workers face the risk of electrocution in construction accidents every day, some of which can be fatal. While there are many safeguards in place to protect workers from electrocution, the risk cannot be eliminated entirely. If you have been electrocuted on a job site, an electrocution accident attorney can help you get back on your feet.
Electrocution Accidents in the Workplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines electrocution accidents as “exposure to electricity,” which includes direct and indirect exposure. Direct exposure includes, for example, arc flashes, direct contact with power lines, and direct contact with electric fences. Indirect exposure encompasses contact with electrified piping, machinery, or equipment that touches live power lines and electric shock from standing in water. In 2019, there were a total of 1,900 non-fatal “exposure to electricity” accidents nationwide, accounting for only 0.2% of the total non-fatal accidents that year. However, there were 136 fatal accidents the same year, making the fatality rate for electrocution accidents about 7% — far higher than the overall 0.5% fatality rate for all accidents.
Common Causes of Electrocution Accidents
Unlike other types of construction work (for example, bricklaying), working with electricity is inherently dangerous due to the nature of the medium. Electricians and other electrical workers thus take great care to prevent accidents and injuries. But even the most experienced electricians can make mistakes or be injured due to someone else’s negligence. There are many reasons why electrocution accidents occur, but some of the most common include:
- Contact accidents: Occur when a worker comes into direct or indirect contact with an electric current, such as a power line or the electrified third rail in a subway tunnel
- Improper grounding: Electrical grounding provides a backup pathway that routes electricity into the ground if there is a fault in the wiring system. Lack of grounding or improper grounding — such as by pulling the grounding prong off of a three-prong plug to fit into a two-prong outlet — can cause electric shock.
- Arcing accidents: Electrical arcing occurs when a current flows through the air between two conductors. It can cause burns or electric shock if it comes into contact with a worker’s body.
- Lockout accidents: A lockout accident occurs when a piece of equipment being worked on has not been shut off properly or comes back on before the worker has finished, creating a risk of electrocution.
Legal Remedies for Electrocution Accidents
Construction workers who are injured in electrocution accidents may pursue workers’ compensation claims. The worker’s compensation program provides cash and medical benefits to injured workers until such time as they can return to work. If the electrocution accident was due to a third party’s negligence, injured workers may also pursue third-party personal injury claims.
Contact a Long Island Electrocution Accident Lawyer for More Information
If you have been injured in an electrocution accident, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. To speak to an attorney, please contact a Long Island electrocution accident attorney at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco by using our online form or calling 631-582-3700. We have office locations in Garden City, Shirley, and Ronkonkoma for your convenience.