All construction sites have high-voltage needs. Electricity is essential. The U.S. Occupational and Safety Administration (OSHA) have reported that approximately 350 construction workers are killed every year because of electrocution on construction sites. Some workers survive after being exposed to high levels of electricity, but they may not escape serious injury.
Because construction site workers need power to operate machinery and electricity is needed for installing different equipment, electrical work is integral to the construction site work. This means that there are many chances for electricity to cause accidents, including electrocution.
General contractors and subcontractors need to be extremely sensitive to the dangers of electricity on a construction site that they work at. Proper maintenance and inspection is essential to avoid serious injury and death by electrocution at the worksite.
Electric shock can come from any contact a person has with high enough voltage to run the current flow through the person’s skin, muscle, hair and tissue. Extremely high voltage can cause serious injury and death, which called electrocution.
In total the National Institutes of Health reports that as many as 1000 individuals die each year because of electrocution. Some of these deaths are caused by faulty wiring systems, unguarded high voltage areas in the work place and by the negligence or another worker.
Workplace injuries related to electricity are frequently suffered by electrical workers, electricians or apprentices. In fact about one-fifth of all electrocutions in the U.S. occur by the exposure to live high voltage wires while workers are in a construction setting. Construction workers are electrocuted each year when exposed to high voltage on the job as welders, pipefitters, crane operators, electricians, elevator technicians, utility workers, painters, carpenters, heavy equipment operators and plumbers to a name a few. Many of the electrocutions occur because construction workers come in contact with live, overhead power lines. Those who survive such exposure to high voltage may sustain serious burns, neurological injury, fractures to bones and heart and lung injuries.
Even experience electricians are known to be electrocuted and serious injured by electrical shock when exposed defective electrical plugs, outlets, damaged extension cords and appliances. Electricians can be injured when installing light fixtures, room fans and outdoor lighted signage.
The severity of injury or death related to electricity exposure depends on the level of electrical current. Alternating current or “AC” is 4 to 5 times more dangerous that direct current. The level and amount electrical current is related to the voltage of the current and inversely proportional to the resistance. If the voltage is high and the resistance is low, the flow of current is greater. Most electrocutions occur when the voltage is higher than 200 volts. On the other hand, comparing currents, when the current is 100mA it is usually fatal to one exposed to it. Lower currents can cause serious injury, but usually not death.
Fatal injuries caused by electricity can be avoided. Too often the cause of electrocution is defection electrical appliances or human error (negligence) in the use of heavy equipment in close proximity to live high voltage lines. This occurs when contact is made with overhead cables or when a worker mistakenly handles an electrified tool. Sometimes the electrocution is caused by the negligence of another worker. The responsibility for the injury or death by electrocution must be thoroughly investigated to determine cause.
If you or someone you know or love has been injured or killed as a result of an electrocution injury on a construction site in Illinois, please call us for an immediate free consultation. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois construction site injury cases for more than 40 years.
Construction accidents causing severe injuries and death can be complicated by the worker’s relationships with his or her employer, the general contractor, the owner and the subcontractors at the jobsite.
With our years of experience in trying and settling electrocution and construction site injury cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case, assessment of your damages such as lost income, lost wages, medical and hospital bills, past and future pain and suffering, loss of normal life and wrongful death.