Whether you work in an office or do outdoor construction, electricity is a necessary part of getting the job done. Without electricity, many tools and other work items would not work.
However, electricity is potentially deadly and a significant cause of workplace fatalities. Electrocution causes about one in 10 worker deaths in the construction industry. Electricity could cause workers to suffer from electrical shocks. Electricity could also trigger explosions or fires. There are many ways in which electricity ranks among the deadliest workplace hazards.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) closely regulates how electricity could be used on job sites. The OSHA also closely tracks the various causes of death and injuries reported in all occupations.
The OSHA says the most common electrical hazards in the workplace include:
- Contacting power lines.
- No ground-fault protection or an incomplete ground.
- Improperly used equipment.
- Improperly used extension or flexible cords.
Contact could occur in many ways with power lines that are buried or strung overhead. A worker using a backhoe might accidentally dig into a buried electrical line. Another user with a paint roller might make contact with an overhead power line.
If a ground-fault is defective, it could cause breaks in the electrical insulation that exposes electrical wires. It also could create short circuits and enable electricity to injure or kill a worker.
Workers who use equipment improperly might suffer an accidental shock or electrocution. Extension or flexible cords that are overloaded or in bad condition could injure or kill a worker.
OSHA Standards for Working With and Around Electricity
The OSHA standards only apply to the operating or exposed elements of an electrical system. Those elements include:
- Appliances and equipment.
- Motors and machines.
- Switches and controls.
- Electrical enclosures.
The OSHA standards require electrical systems to be designed, installed, and enclosed in a manner that minimizes the electrical dangers in the workplace. The OSHA requires certain approved organizations to test and certify all electrical equipment before it can be used in the workplace. The OSHA also requires employers to supply appropriate safety gear and train employees in the safe use of electrical equipment.
How Can Workplace Electrical Injuries and Fatalities Be Prevented?
The power of electricity can make many jobs easier and safer for workers. Tools and other equipment that rely upon electricity must be in good working condition and inspected regularly to ensure the safety of all workers.
Power cords should never be modified, such as removing the ground pin. Care must be taken to keep electrical cords out of water and away from highly conductive materials.
A job might involve digging or trenching in a developed area. It is important to contact the local utilities providers and have them mark exactly where all utility services lines are located. That includes any electrical lines that might be buried as well as gas lines and other potentially dangerous service connections.
Ensuring ground-faults and ground connections are safe and in place will help reduce the potential for electrical shock or electrocution. Paying close attention to the possible dangers that accompany electricity and electrical tools can help greatly reduce the potential for injury or death.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Electrical Injuries?
If you suffer an electrical shock that causes injury while working, Workers’ Compensation should pay for any related medical costs. If your injuries cause you to miss work, you should attempt to recover lost wages as well as medical costs. Workers’ Compensation can pay up to two-thirds of your lost wages while you are recovering from your work-related injuries.
You might suffer a permanent disability due to the electrical shock or any other injury. Workers’ Compensation could help to offset the cost of lost future wages due to suffering a permanent disability. You also might be eligible for disability benefits.
An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you if you are having trouble with your claim. A skilled lawyer could also help you file for the right benefits. Additionally, they can determine if a third-party is liable for your work accident and injury. In some cases, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Workers Who Are Suffering From Electrical Injuries
If you suffer any kind of work injury, including an electrical injury, and you are having problems with your claim, speak with one of our New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, as well as Trevose, Pennsylvania, and we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.