No matter how you look at it, accidents that pass electrical current through the body can be extremely deadly and fast acting. This is due to the fact that the human body conducts electricity very well. You may receive an electrical injury and look at it only to find minor burns, but the damage could have already occurred. This is because sometimes these serious injuries take place on the inside, especially to the heart, muscles, and brain.
Between the years 1992 and 2002, there were an outstanding 3,378 workers who died from electrical injuries according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This means that there was almost one death every day, which could have easily been prevented if precautions had been taken. Contact with overhead power lines accounted for the most accidents, resulting in 42% of deaths caused by these accidents. The surprising fact remains – for those who are not killed by these unfortunate accidents, 46,598 workers were still injured during this same age range mentioned. These accidents are part of the Fatal Four of construction accidents, or some of the accidents causing the most fatalities in the construction workplace.
Injuries Stemming From Electrocution
Burns: Extensive and deep burns can result from electrocution accidents due to voltage levels ranging anywhere from 500 to 1000 volts.
Heart Injury: In some events, the current finds a direct pathway to the heart. This could case fibrillation, which makes the heart muscle cells move independently instead of in the coordinated pulses that make the heart beat normally.
Neurological Effects: Electrical currents can cause interference with nervous control over the heart and lungs. Neuropathy can result even if fatality isn’t in the mix.
Arc-flash: Heat produced from electric can cause very severe burns on unprotected flesh in working conditions. Bones and internal organs can also be damaged. Proper protection can stop this from happening, which should be worn at all times when the electricity is on.
Electrical Injuries: Long-Term Injuries
Electrical injuries, when they do not kill the victim, can leave lasting effects. This is where workers’ compensation will usually come into play or lawsuits when extreme negligence was the cause. Survivors may be faced with muscular pain and discomfort, fatigue, sensations, inadequate balance and coordination, and more. Many central nervous system effects are quite difficult to diagnose but will leave lasting effects that the victim will have to deal with for years to come.
What Can be Done About These Accidents?
Precautions should always be followed on-the-job so that electrical accidents never result. Contractors should always comply with Occupational Safety and Health regulations on electrical safety as well as always train employees on safety. If they are asked to work live, they should always verify with an owner that deenergizing live electrical circuits is not practical and could actually cause further hazards.
On another hand, electrical workers must take precautions too, such as working only on live electrical circuits in accordance with a permit that is specific to correct procedures. They should also wear appropriate personal protective equipment and use the right tools for the job at all times.
If you have been injured in an electrical-related construction accident, then you may have a case. If you have decided to forfeit workers’ compensation benefits and move forth with a lawsuit, you should talk to an attorney that you trust with your case. Find out more information by contacting Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today.