Electrical Accidents, OSHA, and Liability

Injuries resulting from electrocution can range from muscle pain to respiratory paralysis and severe burns. Between 1992 and 2006, an average of 283 employees per year were killed in electrical mishaps. This is a large number, but consider that 1992 was the high end of the spectrum, with 317 deaths. By 2002, the number had dropped below the average, to 212 electricity-related fatalities. This is due in large part to the extensive regulations OSHA has introduced and enforced.

Safety Equipment

One simple guarantee the Occupational Safety and Hazard Act (OSHA) makes to employees working with electricity is the provision of adequate safety equipment. This includes face protection, eye protection, gloves, barriers, shields, and insulating materials. This seems to be common sense, but many of the deaths that occur each year are due to either the absence of this equipment or the decision of the employee not to wear it even when it is provided. Remember: wearing this gear isn’t a choice, it’s the law.

Deenergizing

Another leading cause of injury or death in the electrician or machinist’s workplace is that live parts are not turned off before they’re worked on. In fact, the only circumstances in which it’s permitted for employees to work on live parts are when turning off the power increases hazard or is impossible because of the design of the equipment. Not only is it mandatory that machines, electrical boxes, and circuit breakers be shut down (regardless of inconvenience) before they’re worked on, but it’s also required that a qualified person confirms everything is turned off, and turns it back on once work is complete.

Grounding

Because of the rugged nature of construction work, cords and cables can become damaged through insulation breaks or even short circuit after long use. If appropriate equipment to ground the faulty current safely is not in place, this current can instead seek to ground itself through the body of a worker. While insulated tools and appropriate safety equipment can protect the worker from death, it’s also important for the employer to have ground-fault circuit interrupters on high voltage equipment or outlets. An assured equipment grounding conductor program, which governs all the on-site equipment, can also be implemented.

The attorneys at CFCL want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From fighting for you in court to helping you plan for every new challenge you may face, we’re your advocates. If you have been injured by electricity in the workplace and believe you have a case, contact us today for a free consultation.

If you’d like to learn more about some common characteristics of these types of cases before proceeding, download The Beginner’s Guide to Wrongful Death today.