CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS – ELECTRICAL
Construction work is extremely dangerous and electrical accidents are the fourth leading causes of death for construction workers. Many of these deaths were preventable, had proper safety precautions been employed. When builders cut corners on safety, construction workers can be seriously injured or lives can be lost. The law provides many remedies for these situations, which can result in millions of dollars in liability for builders, hoping to encourage safer practices on construction sites.
HOW ELECTRICAL CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS HAPPEN
Hundreds of construction workers are injured each year by easily prevented electrical accidents. The most serious danger is for workers that are not electricians, but are working near “live” wires. There are five major types of electrical accidents on construction sites.
- Workers in contact with an energized powerline
- Workers in direct contact with energized equipment
- Boomed vehicle collides with energized powerline
- Equipment improperly installed or damaged
- Conductive equipment in contact with the energized powerline
Injuries from electrical construction accidents can be catastrophic, including severe burns, amputations, blindness and brain damage. Electrical current can also cause cardiac arrest and damage to muscles, nerves, and tissues. The severity of the injury can vary due to the strength and type of voltage, how long the contact is with the source of electricity and the victim’s health.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PROTECT CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FROM ELECTRICAL ACCIDENTS
OSHA has made the following suggestions and requirements:
- Use of “ground-fault” circuit interrupters
- Frequent inspection of portable tools and extension cords
- Maintaining a safe distance from power lines
- Using power tools and other electrical equipment only as designed
- Following tag out (LOTO) protocols
- Make sure power tools are maintained properly
- Isolation of all electrical parts
- Proper guarding
- Frequent inspection of overhead power lines
- Supplying ground-fault circuit interrupters
- Establishment and implementation of an equipment grounding conductor policy
- Providing proper training
- Enforcing lockout-tag out (LOTO) practices
- Using flexible cords]
LEGAL REMEDIES FOR CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
Employers that fail in their duty to provide a safe workplace can be held liable for the injuries and deaths of their workers. If you’ve been injured at a construction site, seek medical attention immediately. If your injuries are serious, consult with an experienced construction accident attorney about suing for compensation. Inexperienced attorneys might tell you that you “cannot sue your employer” and that you are limited to collecting workers compensation benefits. This is not true! There are many exceptions to the workers compensation law that apply to construction workers, and there are also potential claims against third parties and for product liability. A free consultation with an experienced construction accident attorney will help you know your rights.