Lawyers for Electrocution Accidents
A source of electricity can pose a serious risk to individuals – in the home, commercial or public property, and the workplace – if proper safety measures are not adhered to. Electric shocks can cause serious injuries, such as burns, heart damage, and even death.
While these accidents can happen to anyone, workers in the construction industry are at a particularly high risk of electrical injury, as exposure to power lines and exposed wires is more common. In fact, electrocution is one of the four leading causes of death on a construction site, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). In 2019 the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESF) reported 166 electrical deaths, a 3.75% increase from 2018 and the highest amount since 2011. Overhead and buried power lines attribute to a majority of these deaths. The law requires that contractors make workers aware of the location of both overhead and underground electrical lines in order to minimize the chances of accidental electrocution, but if they fail to follow the law, they are putting workers at risk and may be found liable.
Our attorneys are skilled in litigating accident cases and have attained top results, including $5.5 million and $5 million settlements in electric shock lawsuits. If you were injured as a result of electric shocks or have lost someone who tragically died as a result of electrocution, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form. Our lawyers are here to help you explore your legal options after a serious injury.
Causes of Electrical Accidents
Electricians and other workers on construction sites are more likely to be harmed by electrical accidents. Yet, many of these accidents are preventable. In many of these cases, fatalities occurred because of little or no electrical safety training. Increasing awareness through education and training can help prevent further accidents from occurring. Another common factor that contributes to electrocution accidents is when a worker or equipment comes into contact with an overhead power line. In some instances, these lines may not be de-energized by those in charge, including power companies. Between 2011 and 2018, 38% of all electricity-related work deaths were caused by overhead power lines. Using tools and equipment such as metal ladders, cranes, and scaffolds in close proximity to power lines also increases the risk of these accidents. According to OSHA, there are three major types of electrocution hazards in construction:
- Contact with overhead power lines, including lines that may not be de-energized
- Contact with energized sources such as live parts, damaged wires or defective equipment and tools
- Improper use of extension and flexible cords
Other causes of electrocution accidents include:
- Unsafe or damaged tools
- Equipment not used in the manner prescribed
- Faulty wiring
- Poorly marked construction zones
- Short circuits
- Live wires that are ungrounded
- Improper cord use
- Wet conditions
Even when the power system at a construction site is properly grounded, electrical equipment can quickly become hazardous under certain conditions, especially because it carries extremely high voltage. The misuse of electrical equipment and extension cords can also increase a construction worker’s risk of suffering an electric shock.
Injuries Associated With Electrocution Accidents
Electrical injuries on construction sites can be costly and even deadly. Burns and internal injuries are among the serious effects that an electric shock can have on the human body. Some other injuries that can result from electrocution accidents include but are not limited to:
- Burns, which can result in blistering and cause damage to internal organs
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Cardiac arrest due to shock
- Post-electric shock syndrome, which includes seizures, headaches, and memory loss
- Brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries caused by falls from electrical shocks
These injuries can have a lasting effect on the lives of victims and their loved ones.
How To Prevent Electrocution Hazards on Construction Sites
When it comes to electrical hazards on a construction site, one must always be aware of their surroundings. Power lines, one of the leading causes of electrical fatalities, should always be considered dangerous, whether covered or exposed. Workers also need to follow the proper procedures while performing their tasks. As with all construction work, preparation is key, especially when dealing with electrical currents in cramped or high spaces.
Some of the ways workers can protect themselves from being electrocuted on the job include:
- Identify all sources of electrical energy
- Inspect all electrical equipment before use
- Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) with all power tools
- Use intact and properly rated cords (i.e., correct AWG)
- Do not use damaged equipment – take it out of service
- Institute an equipment grounding conductor (EGC) to ground noncurrent-carrying metal parts of equipment
- Notify all personnel that equipment must be shut off
- Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages
- Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated
- Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines
- Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities
- Never operate electrical equipment while standing in water
- Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized
- Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it
If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a GFCI.
Contact an Electrocution Accident Attorney Today
The firm has represented electricians and other workers in electrocution lawsuits throughout New York and obtained numerous successful results on their behalf.
Select electrocution accident results include:
- $5,500,000 settlement for an electrician who fell 14-16 feet from an extension ladder after receiving an electric shock, sustaining a head injury
- $5,000,000 settlement for a laborer who suffered an electric shock while performing excavation work
- $2,600,000 settlement for a Local 3 electrician who suffered serious injuries after being shocked twice by power lines that should have been de-energized