Workplace accidents involving electrical shock happen frequently in Boston and around the country. These unfortunate events will bring pain and suffering, high expenses and even death to the victims. Your Boston law firm has personal injury lawyers who are experienced winning fair compensation for electrical shock victims and others who have been injured at worksites.
Recent recordkeeping by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) shows that electrically-related fatalities and injuries have been on the decrease since record high numbers in 1994. By 2007, the fatalities went down from 348 to 212, and injuries decreased from a high of 6,018 to 2,540. Some credit for this welcome reduction is due to better safety regulations and workplace awareness of the dangers electricity can pose to workers. During the period from 2003 to 2007, ESFI reports 1,213 fatal accidents when workers made contact with electricity. Another 13, 150 workers experienced non-fatal injuries from electrical shock hazards.
Electrical Shock Hazards in the Workplace
Even when all safety regulations are strictly followed, workers are injured on the job by electricity. If a crane operator accidently touches a high voltage power wire, there will be electrical shock and injury or death. Overhead power lines cause more fatal injuries than other sources of electricity. Workers are injured on the job from contact with other electrical components, such as wiring or transformers. The body, unfortunately, is an ideal conduit for electricity.
Electrical power running through machines, tools, lighting fixtures and appliances are often the source of workplace electrical shock injuries. Workers make contact with electricity other places too, such as when working around underground power lines or from lighting strikes and other causes.
Common Electrical Shock Injuries
- Internal damage to organs like the heart, muscles or brain
- Injuries to bones when the person is thrown due to shock
- Seizures, hearing impairment, headaches, unconsciousness
Some more severe injuries from electrical contact affect the heart, muscle or nerve tissues and skin. Electricity can result in cardiac arrest. It can destroy soft tissue, nerves and muscle tissue structures. Skin is easily burned when it comes in contact with electricity. There are many degrees of injury from electrical burns, depending upon other factors like voltage, current and the path taken by the current through the body. Injury from electrical shock is serious, and each year about 1,000 people die from it in the United States.
Injury from electricity can happen anywhere, at home or at work. Most incidents do occur at work, and it is a great hazard for those in certain occupations, especially for construction and restaurant workers. Live wires and outdoor power lines present a special danger at construction sites, as do all the machinery and tools workers use to perform their duties. Electrocution at home can occur when a child decides to explore an electrical wall outlet or in the kitchen when an appliance malfunctions.
Unsafe conditions, such as accidental contact between metal or water and electricity can cause injury or death. Car collisions with high voltage power line poles can bring down live wires to cause potential electrical shock to vehicle occupants, rescue workers or bystanders. Contact between metal structures like ladders, cranes or poles and a high power line is another major cause of electrocution accidents. Lighting is also known to cause electrocution deaths.
Electrocutions at Construction Sites
According to the U.S. Occupational and Safety Administration, workers in the construction industry are exposed to electrical hazards more than other workers. Electrocutions at construction sites account for about 350 fatal accidents annually. A maze of hazards can exist at a worksite, including exposed or ungrounded wires, improperly installed electrical wires, and poorly protected lines. Malfunctioning machinery, inappropriate use of tools, cranes or scaffolding that contact power lines and poor maintenance of equipment also contribute to workplace injuries. Safety violations, misuse of tools or failure to follow safe operation instructions can result in worker injury or death.
Other problems that involve electrical shock occur when a worker is injured due to a fall or being thrown from high places, crane towers, scaffolding or ladders. This can result in broken bones, head injury and brain damage from concussions or cuts. Long-term physical damage can create massive medical expenses for the injured worker. Even though most workers are covered by worker’s compensation insurance, they may need to consult a Boston personal injury attorney to seek additional compensation from responsible parties.
Workers who have been injured on the job by electrical shock should call for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. They will help you decide what the best course of legal action is so that you can begin to recover from your injuries or overcome the death of a loved one who was killed on the job due to electrocution. Call now to protect your rights and avoid problems with a statute of limitations that may be short.