Electricity and electrical wiring are part and parcel of nearly every construction project in one way or another, and the associated hazards of shock, electrocution, electrical burns, fires and explosions must be considered and respected by every worker at the job site. Licensed electricians are likely to be well-trained and well-protected with safety gear, but the other workers who may potentially come into contact with live wires are likely to have neither the training nor the protective equipment to shield themselves from exposed wiring and other electrical hazards.
Electrical hazards come in the form of various exposed and operating elements, including lighting, equipment, motors, machines, switches, controls, and enclosures. Working with or around metals and other conductive materials in the presence of these elements presents a significant risk of serious or fatal shock or burn injuries.
Shock occurs when a person becomes part of the electric circuit, completing the path of current through both wires of an electric circuit, between one wire and the ground, or between an energized metal or another conductor. Electricity flowing through the body to the ground creates the electric shock, which can cause severe burns, crippling nerve damage, or heart attack and death.
Burns are actually the most common shock-related injury. In addition to electrical burns resulting from current flowing through the body, victims can also be injured by arc burns (flash burns) and thermal contact burns from touching overheated electric surfaces. Electric arcs and short circuits can also start a fire or cause an explosion, further increasing the risk of painful or deadly burn injuries.
A safe work site requires safe equipment that is safely installed in a safe environment through safe work practices. Common causes of electrical accidents include:
- Uninsulated circuit conductors
- Insulation unsuitable for the voltage and conditions involved
- Electrical equipment not properly located or conspicuously identified
- Electrical equipment not properly guarded through screens or enclosures
- Grounded conductor (service or system ground) is missing or inadequate
- Equipment ground is missing, faulty or inadequate
- Missing or inadequate fuses and circuit breakers
- Lack of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in wet locations and high-risk areas on the jobsite
- Lack of arc-fault devices to de-energize circuits when an arc-fault is detected
- Electric equipment not properly de-energized before inspection or repair
- Electric tools improperly maintained
- Negligence or recklessness in the presence of energized lines
- Lack of appropriate protective equipment
If worksite hazards, improper training, or the lack of protective equipment has caused electrocution of you or a family member, contact the Law Firm of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation regarding your claim.