Electrocution and electric shock injuries are one of the primary risks facing construction workers. A devastating type of injury, electric shocks were found by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to be responsible for 1,200 fatal on-the-job accidents and over 13,000 severe injuries over a 5 year span. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that a total of 350 electric shock fatalities happen on construction sites every year and that thousands more employees fall victim to non-fatal construction-related electric shock injuries.
Construction sites are inherently unsafe premises and expose those working on them to dangerous live wire conditions. Some electric shock injuries are purely accidental and no one could have reasonably prevented them, but frequently electrocution accidents can directly be caused by the carelessness of another individual or by defective machinery considered the responsibility of its distributors, manufacturers and designers.
Electric shock injuries are frequently serious, if not fatal. Reports have shown that the primary cause of construction site electrical fatalities is accidental contact with overhead power lines. Close on heels of overhead line injury, construction workers coming into contact with electrical components such as transformers or ungrounded wiring is the second leading cause of electric shock death from construction sites. Employees who routinely work with these electrical components are at highest risk for injury and death.
Electric Shock Injury Causes and Types
Construction sites are riddled with hazardously exposed and ungrounded live wires, or electrical lines that have been improperly installed or carelessly unprotected. Electric shock injuries can result from inadequate safety training or malfunctioning machinery or can be caused by the use of inappropriate tools for electrical work or cranes, or scaffolding and other support mechanisms placed next to low-hanging power lines.
The human body did not evolve to contend with electricity as a regular hazard, and we are unfortunately ideal conduits for electrical current but ill-equipped to defend ourselves from its damaging effects. This is why all electrical contact is inherently dangerous and will result in some form of physical damage. An electric shock can cause minor injuries or internal damage invisible to the untrained observer. Burns, external or internal tissue damage, internal organ damage (including the brain) and death are common results of electric shock injuries.
Assessing Electric Shock Injury Liability
Construction sites are workplace environments and as such most injuries that occur on their premises are covered under Worker’s Compensation Law, which prohibits the filing of claims against employers for accidents on the job. But in some cases, however, the cause of an electric shock injury may lie in the hands of someone other than the injured construction worker’s employer. Determining the true nature and fault of this sort of injury to something an electric shock injury lawyer is able to do. Those who may have been at fault can include the property owner, electrical contractors who installed faulty wiring, the supervisor of safety or the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the equipment or machinery that caused the electric shock or anyone who was responsible for maintaining it.
Working with an Electric Shock Injury Attorney
If you have been seriously injured because of electric shock then please don’t handle it alone. Contacting electric shock injury lawyers as soon as possible after your injury can help you decide whether or not you’re entitled to file a claim and allow you to carry out your claim before the short statute of limitations expires.
Electric shock injury attorneys are powerful advocates for your rights and can accurately determine fault, then work tirelessly to make sure you are justly compensated not only for medical costs, future medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation but also for your physical and emotional suffering. Lawyers specializing electric shock injury and personal injury are skilled negotiators who can easily handle the paperwork, trial procedures, courtroom politics and numerous details of your claim. They can access resources to bolster your case such as medical experts and specialized witnesses who are experts in the field electrical engineering, construction sites safety and electric shock.