The United States Department of Labor has named electrocution one of the construction industry’s “Fatal Four.” Only second to construction site falls, workplace electrocution accidents made up 8% of nationwide private industry worker fatalities in 2014. While 8% seems like a minuscule number compared to other more prevalent workplace fatalities, this percentage only represents those who died as a result of workplace electrocutions and does not account for non-fatal injuries or electrocutions in other industries.
By definition, electrocution means death caused by electric shock. Today, the term is used much more expansively to include even non-fatal injuries.
Types of Electrocution Injuries
The types of electrical injuries are countless. To name a few: direct current electrical injuries, nerve depolarization, muscle depolarization, arc burns, alternating current injury, thermal burns, contact burns, electrical flashes, flash burns and internal electrical injury.
The severity of the injuries can vary depending on the voltage, current, duration of exposure, and the pathway of the electricity through the body. Electrocution can occur with or without direct contact with the source of the electricity. A victim can sustain severe burns, cardiac arrest, and severe damage to the respiratory system. Many of the injuries sustained from electrocution are not readily visible. In some instances, when a person comes into contact with electricity, it causes the body to violently contract which results in permanent damage to the internal organs. Other victims suffer multiple fractures as a result of being thrown by the force of the electricity. Victims that survive such a traumatic experience do so with long term, life-altering disabilities. Long term complications can include psychiatric problems, seizures, and paralysis.
The Risks Are Real
The dangers of electrocution were once believed to be concentrated in the labor or construction sectors of employment. However, contrary to popular belief, the dangers of electrocution are present in nearly every workplace. As the working environment becomes more dependent on computers, modern machinery, and other technology, there are more safeguards to be taken to ensure the avoidance of electrocution in the workplace. Unfortunately, many of the dangers electrocution presents are not over. For example, there have been reports of office workers who have been electrocuted due to decrepit, over-loaded extension cords as well as old appliances in employer break rooms. Regrettably, these dangers loom in part because employers are not taking adequate precautions to ensure that the workplace is a hazard-free environment. A result of employer oversight in this area can be fatal. Even if the injuries are not fatal, workers who are electrocuted can be forced to accumulate thousands of dollars in medical bills, miss a substantial amount of work, or become permanently disabled from engaging in the workforce again due to the injuries sustained.
Were You Hurt At Work?
The dangers of electrocution are a morbid reality of the workplace. As a general matter, workplace safety and education in the subject matter is most effective in preventing electrocutions. If you notice a potential electrocution hazard at your place of employment, you should notify your employer immediately. If you or someone you know sustains an injury due to electrocution during the course of employment, the employee or the employee’s family should not delay and contact an attorney at Keches Law Group to determine if a workers’ compensation claim is appropriate. Regardless of whether the injuries are temporary or caused permanent disabilities, you may have a claim for workers’ compensation.
Here at Keches Law Group, we have experienced attorneys who are knowledgeable in this field. If you or someone you know has been a victim of workplace electrocution, do not hesitate to call to schedule a consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney at Keches Law Group.
If you or a loved one has been injured by electrocution, contact Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 or online for a free, no-obligation consultation today. We will be happy to meet you at one of our conveniently located offices or at your home.