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Electrocution Hazards In Construction Industry And How To Prevent Them



September 15th, 2015

Electrocution results from a human body being exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Unfortunately, the construction industry is regarded as the most dangerous workplace with the highest rate of electrocution cases. Each year workers die from exposure to extreme electric current. Electrocution contributes to nearly 5% of all deaths in the construction industry. The risk exists due to usage of high voltage of electric and other factors such as:

  • Improper grounding
  • Exposed electrical parts
  • Inadequate wiring
  • Overhead power lines
  • Damaged insulation
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Wet conditions
  • Damaged tools and equipment

The Magnitude of Electrocution in Construction Industry

  • Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that electrocution was the fourth leading cause of death in construction in 2005.
  • Electrocutions caused 9% of construction worker deaths, but accounted for less than 1% of reported recordable nonfatal injuries in 2005.
  • For 2003-2005, the death rate from electrocutions for the construction industry was 1.1 per 100,000 full-time workers, building up to an average of 121 electrocutions per year.
  • The highest rates of death from electrocution were among electrical power installers, repairers and earth drillers.
  • The construction occupations with the highest average number of deaths per year due to electrocution were electricians (29), construction laborers (19), supervisors/managers (13), electrical power installers and repairers (10).
  • In 2012, 212 workers died after contacting electric current; 108 were construction workers.

Can Electrocution Be Prevented in Construction Industry?

The answer is simple; Yes! Electrocution can be prevented in the construction industry by taking some precautionary steps:

  • Maintaining a safe distance from overhead power lines.
  • Regularly inspecting portable tools and extension cords as well as using extension cords with GFCI(Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters) protection in absence of permanent protection.
  • Using power tools and equipment as designed.
  • Following lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Locating equipment/activity within a safe working distance from power lines.
  • De-energizing  the utility company and making sure it has visibly grounded the power lines or installed insulated sleeves on power lines.
  • Installing flagged warning lines to mark horizontal and vertical power line clearance distances.
  • Using non-conductive tools and materials.
  • Using cranes and other high reaching equipment only after confirming the voltage  and maintaining a safe working distance from the power lines. Also, using a/an observer; insulated link; boom cage guard; proximity device.
  • Using mobile heavy equipment after installing rider posts under power lines to avoid working too close to the power lines.
  • Using non-conductive ladders and retracting them before moving.
  • Using caution tape and signs to cordon off area under power lines and ensuring that no materials are stored under power lines.

Electrocution is caused by carelessness, not heading job site rules and lack of knowledge. Awareness of electrocution hazards as well taking proper safety precautions can save thousands of lives.

Don’t Be a Victim Of Electrocution!

If you or a loved one is injured due to exposure to electricity current, or if you have lost your loved one as a result of electrocution in the construction industry, contact Dervishi Law Group, P.C to learn about how we can protect your rights. Call us today at 917-300-0797 / 718-619-4525.

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