The Shocking Facts About Workplace Electrocutions
May is National Electrical Safety Month and it provides workers and employers an opportunity to focus on the dangers of electrocution in the workplace. Electrocution in the workplace is a common cause of on-the-job injury in San Antonio and you should know the risks so that you can protect yourself from the danger.
Shocking Statistics Show Dangerous Trends
OSHA recorded 154 electrocution related fatalities in 2016. This was a 15% increase over the number of electrocutions recorded in 2015. Construction workers are at greatest risk and accounted for 53% of all fatalities. And, while you may feel safe in an office, the data shows that 18% of electrocutions are suffered by individuals working in professional or business services. Nationwide, electrocutions are the sixth leading cause of on-the-job fatalities. Younger workers are at greatest risk and experience an electrocution rate that is 2.3 times greater than their older colleagues.
Contact with electrical current can cause severe burns and cardiac arrhythmia. The electrical shock can also cause secondary injuries including broken bones, lacerations, and other injuries suffered in falls or when the individual's muscles contract and they are "thrown" against objects.
Staying Alert to Danger
Workers can protect themselves from electrical injuries by adhering to established safety protocols. These include the following seven "do nots" that are common causes of workplace electrocutions:
- Do not operate near overhead power lines until they are confirmed clear.
- Do not dig in areas where underground cables are not properly marked.
- Do not overload circuits or use an improperly grounded piece of machinery.
- Do not use frayed or damaged extension cords.
- Do not use extension cords that are submerged in water.
- Do not use machinery that is arching or sparking.
- Do not perform tasks until thoroughly trained in the appropriate procedures and the use of the required tools.
Employer's Duty of Care
Employers in Texas have a duty of care that includes protecting their workers from an on-the-job injury. OSHA's electrical safety standards clearly identify proper grounding, lockout/tagout procedures, maintenance, safety guards, and operational requirements. Employers who violate OSHA standards can be subject to severe fines in addition to any civil penalties awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit.
An on-the-job injury can have long-lasting ramifications for your career and earning capacity. Contact Welmaker Injury Law at (800) 494-1916 for more information about the legal liability of employers in Texas when injuries occur. An on-the-job injury such as electrocution is a potentially life, career and income threatening occurrence that Texas employers must have a duty of care for.