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The Shocking Truth About Electrical Hazards at Work

By Gerald Connor
The Shocking Truth About Electrical Hazards at Work

Electrocution is one of the most common dangers in the construction industry, but all workers may be exposed to electrical hazards at work. Inadequate training, unsafe equipment, and failing to recognize the dangers of electricity can be deadly. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from electrical hazards in the workplace. This includes maintaining a safe work environment that complies with OSHA standards and providing safety training and safety equipment to workers. When employers fail in their duties, injured workers have a right to hire a work injury lawyer to seek compensation for their injuries.

Who is at Most Risk for Injury?

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, construction workers are at most risk of suffering serious injuries or death caused by electrical hazards at work. About 52 percent of all work-related electrical fatalities happen in the construction industry. Many of these fatalities were caused by direct contact with overhead powerlines, tools, machines, or hand-carried metallic objects.

Overhead line workers, electricians, and engineers are most at risk of becoming exposed to electrical hazards. These workers are involved with installation and repair of electrical wires, testing equipment and installed fixtures, and maintenance and inspection activities. However, other workers, like office workers who indirectly work with electricity, could also be exposed to electrical hazards at work.

Common Electrical Hazards at Work

Unsafe job sites, unsafe equipment, or unsafe work practices are responsible for most electrical accidents. Some of the most common electrical hazards in the workplace include:

  • Damaged tools and equipment
  • Overhead power lines
  • Improper wiring and overloaded circuits
  • Improper grounding of equipment
  • Damaged or inadequate wire insulation
  • Exposed electrical parts that can cause shocks or burn injuries

Electrocution risk increases if any of these hazards exist in wet conditions. Electrical equipment that has been exposed to water should always be inspected by an electrician before getting put back into use.

Preventing Injuries from Electrical Hazards

Workers should be trained in the proper procedures for inspecting tools and equipment for damage to electrical wires or cords. Damaged equipment should be repaired or replaced. Lock Out Tag Out procedures should always be followed before beginning electrical repairs or maintenance.

Regularly scheduled risk assessments should be performed in the workplace to identify electrical hazards before a tragedy occurs. Any hazards should be immediately reported, and steps should be taken by employers to minimize the risk to employees.